Rolls-royce chases younger mar­ket

South Waikato News - - Motoring - PETER MCKAY

What in the world of san­ity are we do­ing in Las Ve­gas, a steamy caul­dron of weird­ness and cos­metic en­hance­ment and mar­riage chapels and mis­chief mak­ers of all ages, and slot ma­chines in air­port ar­rival ar­eas, and neons col­lec­tively flash­ing so cheer­fully that they can be seen from space?

This is a place of rarely matched shame­less gaudi­ness and un­god­li­ness’, where the bizarre is ab­so­lutely nor­mal.

Yet this is pre­cisely where brand-sen­si­tive Rolls-royce has de­lib­er­ately cho­sen to show off its new Wraith Black Badge model.

Yes, Rolls-royce, his­tor­i­cally redo­lent of cigar smoke and pin­stripes and pile-car­peted board­rooms, of mainly old money clients, and, even whilst un­der the lat­ter-day pro­pri­etor­ship of BMW, as de­fi­antly Bri­tish as the Gre­nadier Guards.

The new Black Badge vari­ants of the Wraith (and the Ghost), were in­tro­duced earlier this year to a mix of ac­claim and raised eye­brows at the Geneva mo­tor show. ‘‘We were ini­tially a lit­tle ap­pre­hen­sive about this trans­for­ma­tive move for Rolls-royce,’’ says the brand’s global spin­ner, the smoothly ur­bane but de­light­fully mis­chievous Richard Carter. ‘‘It’s a dis­rup­tive car in our range, and there was some re­sis­tance from the old boys.’’

The word ‘‘dis­rup­tive’’ is aired of­ten by the Rolls-royce gents

and there was some re­sis­tance from the old boys.

Al­ready Rolls-royce own­ers are get­ting younger, the av­er­age age down to 43 from 55 in just five years, an ex­tra­or­di­nary down­ward pro­jec­tion sug­gests Carter, adding that the youngest Rollsroyce buyer on record is a 26-year-old self-made In­dian.

The av­er­age age will fall fur­ther with the Black Badge tar­get­ing younger, edgier and some­times out­ra­geous lads and ladies who might be in IT or fashion or mu­sic.

These are go­ers and shak­ers in their high 20s, 30s and low 40s, jammy peo­ple with the where­withal and in­cli­na­tion to sel­f­re­ward. But they bluntly told Rolls-royce a few years ago: ‘‘You have noth­ing for us. Give us some­thing darker, edgier.’’

So two years ago, Rolls-royce cre­ated two new model al­ter-ego vari­ants, more driver-fo­cused and ag­ile, to catch the eye of a very dif­fer­ent breed of buyer.

Rolls-royce Dawn is based on the Wraith coupe and targets a younger mar­ket.

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