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