x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Good times roll on in capital for luxury car maker

Abu Dhabi Motors launches the largest Rolls-Royce showroom in the world, as the manufacturer announces it sold 406 cars across the Middle East last year.

ABU DHABI - 27MAR2011 - Visitor Jodie Lennon looks at the RollsRoyce Phantom drophead Coupe
ABU DHABI - 27MAR2011 - Visitor Jodie Lennon looks at the RollsRoyce Phantom drophead Coupe "Spirit of Ecstasy Centenary collection" displayed at the new showroom opened yesterday in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Rolls showroom open as Abu Dhabi provides 176 per cent sales rise

Rory Jones

The Middle East made up 15 per cent of worldwide Rolls-Royce sales last year, helping to drive the car maker's rapid growth.

The luxury manufacturer sold 406 luxury cars in the region, of a total 2,711 around the world last year. The global figure is a 171 per cent increase from 2009.

Sales in Abu Dhabi were up 176 per cent last year from 2009, prompting Abu Dhabi Motors, the car maker's local partner, to invest in a showroom covering 894 square metres.

Speaking at the launch of the showroom in Umm al Nar, Arno Husselmann, the general manager for Abu Dhabi Motors, said anything other than double sales growth this year would be a disappointment.

"We have had more than 117 per cent growth in the first two months of the year," Mr Husselmann said. "We'll certainly do better than last year, with the new facility and workshop."

Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes, the chief executive of Rolls-Royce, said the Middle East was "still an important driver of growth" for the company and one of the group's top five markets globally. Rolls-Royce has dealerships in the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait, but Mr Mueller-Oetvoes said it had no plans to take the brand to showrooms to other countries in the Middle East.

"We are currently very satisfied," he said. "We've seen a lot of investment over the last few years in the showrooms and sales force [in the region]. What's true in Abu Dhabi is true for the whole region. We've seen excellent growth in the first two months [of 2011]."

Rolls-Royce sales growth was significant in many markets last year - 400 per cent in India, 600 per cent in China and 200 per cent in the US.

The Middle East is Rolls-Royce's third-largest market. By country, the UAE was its fourth-largest market behind the US, China and the UK.

"I would think the Middle East will continue to contribute a similar percentage in 2011 [to global sales]," Mr Mueller-Oetvoes said. "We're anticipating globally we'll experience strong growth throughout the year across all markets."

Abu Dhabi Motors is the sole dealer for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, and the new showroom floor replaces the former facility on the Corniche.

The showroom features exclusive parking for Rolls-Royce customers, a coffee bar, a lounge including colour and trim samples, and a direct connection to the new dedicated Rolls-Royce workshop.

"This facility is one of our best, if not the best, showrooms," Mr Mueller-Oetvoes said.

Abu Dhabi Motors also unveiled one of 17 special edition Phantom Drophead Coupes to be sold in the Middle East.

The car maker will sell 100 of the hand-built cars worldwide to celebrate the centenary of the Spirit of Ecstasy, the figurine on the bonnet of every Rolls-Royce.

The car will have a unique bespoke exterior that the customer will be able to select from four newly created exterior paints, wood veneers and leather colours.

rjones@thenational.ae