Monday, January 10, 2011

The rich get rolling: Rolls-Royce car sales up 170% in 2010

The rich got rolling last year, pushing Rolls-Royce Motor Cars to its highest sales figures since BMW took over the company seven years ago.

The luxury automaker said Monday that it sold 2,711 cars in 2010, up 171 per cent over the previous year.

The United States remained the No. 1 market for the cars, which sell for 200,000 pounds ($310,000) or more. But the Asia-Pacific was the best regional market as Rolls-Royce reported strong sales gains in China, Japan and South Korea.

China ranked as the company's second-largest market, followed by Britain, the United Arab Emirates and Japan.

The 2010 sales were still short of the company's all-time record of 3,357 cars in 1978, said Rolls-Royce spokesman Andrew Ball.

Figures released last week by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders showed that other luxury brands registered strong sales in the United Kingdom.

Bentley, owned by Volkswagen, sold 993 cars in the U.K., up 30 per cent from a year earlier. Porsche, another VW brand, sold 28.5 per cent more cars for the year, to a total of 6,784, and Lotus sales were up 19 per cent to 577. Aston-Martin, however, was down nearly 9 per cent to 1,080.

The society did not report U.K. sales for Rolls-Royce which, at its request, is included in the "other British" category which totaled 1,049 units, up 16 per cent. Rolls-Royce does not publish regional sales figures, Ball said.