Thursday, December 8, 2011

Rolls-Royce returns to the city of Nizams

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Wednesday appointed its dealer for Hyderabad, marking its return to this historic city where the Nizam had once owned a fleet of over 50 super luxury cars.

Hyderabad is the third city in India after Mumbai and New Delhi to get a dealership of Rolls-Royce, which plans to open two more dealerships in India by March 2012.

The company, which returned to India in 2005, also launched the sixth new Rolls-Royce model, Ghost Extended Wheelbase, in the city.

Mir Osman Ali Khan, the seventh and last Nizam or ruler of the then Hyderabad state, had purchased over 50 Rolls-Royce cars in his lifetime. His collection included a Barker coach-built Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, which he acquired in 1912 and used as a ceremonial coach.

Herfried Hasenoehrl, head of business development of Rolls-Royce for India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, told reporters that between 1907 and 1947, 3,600 Rolls-Royce cars were produced in Britain and 1,000 were exported to India.

He described India as a highly promising market for the company. "We are very optimtistic on our outlook for India," he said but declined to give any numbers.

India is currently the third largest market in Asia-Pacific and has the highest number of dealership after China and Japan.

Hasenoehrl said the negotiations were on for opening two more dealerships in India by March 2012. While one will come up in north, the other will be opened either in central or south India. He said the company would be looking at both metro and non-metro cities for its expansion.

India currently has over 200 Rolls-Royce cars plying on its roads. All six models are available in the country but Phantom is the best seller, followed by Ghost.

During 2010, the company achieved a record sale of 2,711 globally. "We will surpass this number during 2011," he said.

The car major also unveiled its Ghost Extended Wheelbase for Andhra Pradesh market. With starting price of Rs. 3.05 crore, its features include an increase of 170-mm length, sunroof and hand-built wood packages made out of Malabar wood.