Rolls-Royce pushes $990,000 cars among China's new rich

The Pak Banker - - Company& -

BEI­JING: The au­tomaker de­liv­ered al­most 500 cars in China in the first 10 months of 2010, com­pared with about 100 for the whole of last year, Paul Har­ris, the com­pany's Asia Pa­cific re­gional di­rec­tor, said in an in­ter­view on Nov. 26. Roll­sRoyce in­cludes Hong Kong in its China sales.

The ex­clu­sive mar­que, which com­petes with Volk­swa­gen AG's Bent­ley and Daim­ler AG's May­bach, is sell­ing more of its Phan­tom and Ghost sedans in China as ris­ing in­comes in the world's fastest grow­ing ma­jor econ­omy boost sales of lux­ury cars. China has 875,000 mil­lion­aires, 6.1 per­cent more than last year, ac­cord­ing to a re­port in April by the Shang­hai-based Hu­run Re­search In­sti­tute.

"The Chi­nese mar­ket in gen­eral is show­ing only one di­rec­tion," Har­ris said. "That's ex­cep­tional growth, and it's go­ing to be on­go­ing for quite a while." A Rolls-Royce Phan­tom starts at 6.6 mil­lion yuan ($990,000) and buy­ers pay 4.1 mil­lion yuan for a Ghost in China where con­sumers pay higher taxes on im­ported lux­ury mod­els. In the U.S., the Phan­tom starts at $380,000.

BMW fell 2.6 per­cent to 57.74 eu­ros in Frank­furt trad­ing yes­ter­day as Ger­many's bench­mark DAX In­dex closed 2.2 per­cent lower. The stock is up 82 per­cent this year.

Mu­nich-based BMW bought the rights to Roll­sRoyce cars for 45 mil­lion pounds in 1998, and be­gan build­ing them at a new fac­tory in 2003. China will be­come Rolls-Royce's biggest mar­ket, sur­pass­ing the U.S., as early as next year as the Ghost spurs de­mand for its cars, Sin­ga­pore­based Har­ris said. The com­pany sold about a third of its cars in the U.S. in 2009. Rolls-Royce may add as many as four more deal­ers in China by the mid­dle of next year, in sec­ond-tier cities such as Tian­jin and Wuhan, he said. -Bloomberg

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