Rolls-Royce’s car sales hit a record high

City A.M. Reporter
UPMARKET carmaker Rolls-Royce, owned by BMW, said it sold a record number of cars in 2011, benefiting from a surge in demand for luxury and bespoke cars from customers in emerging markets.

The 107-year-old company said it sold 3,538 cars in 2011, up 31 per cent on the year before, as sales of its Phantom and Ghost models both rose, beating the previous record from 1978, a year boosted by sales of its classic Silver Shadow II model.

Rolls-Royce said strong sales growth was reported across the globe, with sales in the Asia Pacific region up 47 per cent, North American sales rising 17 per cent and Middle East sales up 23 per cent. It also performed well in the UK, despite tough economic conditions, with sales up 30 per cent.

Rival Aston Martin said in November it expected a quarter of its sales to come from the Asia Pacific region within two years.

Rolls-Royce’s parent company BMW, the world’s biggest maker of premium cars, yesterday posted record car sales for 2011 and forecast a boom in luxury cars would keep it ahead of rivals.

Also yesterday, carmaker Volkswagen said it aims to sell more than half a million cars in the US for the first time in 39 years, building on its last year’s global volume that topped the 8m mark.

The German firm wants to sell 10m vehicles worldwide by 2018, compared with nearly 8.16m in 2011 – not including another 59,000 commercial trucks from Swedish unit Scania.

A tenth of the mid-term volume target should stem from the US market, where it is making strides with the new Beetle and the Passat sedan.

Volkswagen had US group sales of 444,192 vehicles last year, a 23.3 per cent increase from 2010, with about 70 per cent coming from its Volkswagen brand and the remainder from its other brands such as Audi, Bentley and Lamborghini.

Volkswagen Group of America head Jonathan Browning forecast the size of the US market at between 13.5m and 14m vehicles in 2012.