More people than ever before were prepared to splash out several hundred thousand pounds on a new Rolls-Royce last year, despite the cost of living crisis.
Initial deliveries of its first zero-emission vehicle helped Rolls-Royce Motor Cars to another record, selling 6,032 cars last year, beating the 6,021 record achieved in 2022.
During 2023 the Rolls-Royce plant — the Goodwood, West Sussex-based luxury division of BMW, the German carmaker, which employs 2,500 people — produced its last coupé with a high-performance V12 engine with the retirement of the Wraith model and its soft-top Dawn version.
As it shifts from being a seller of gas-guzzlers to a purveyor of greener vehicles, it has begun deliveries of its first all-electric model, the £330,000 Spectre, setting the company on a trajectory to making only zero-emission vehicles from 2030. It claims the new model is attracting younger buyers.
The powerhouse of Rolls-Royce’s growth, however, has been its last internal combustion engine product launch, the carmaker’s venture into the lucrative 4×4 market and its £300,000 Cullinan model.
The United States remains Rolls’ largest market, followed by China and Hong Kong, although it reported that European sales, within which Britain is the largest segment, had delivered record sales. Business in the Middle East has been boosted by demand for ever more elaborate custom work on bespoke interiors and exteriors. It also reported a strong performance in South Korea, with its vibrant economy attracting demand for luxury goods.
“It was another extraordinary year,” said Chris Brownridge, 49, who stepped over from BMW UK to become Rolls-Royce’s chief executive last month. “I’m in the extremely fortunate position of taking over responsibility for a business in robust good health with strong foundations. It’s especially encouraging to see the enormous interest in and demand for Spectre, supporting the decision to adopt a bold ‘all-electric’ strategy for future model development and production.”
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