Luxury Auto Brands Celebrate Sales Increases
Rolls-Royce enjoys record-setting sales numbers in 2011.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: January 12th, 2012
Despite continual news reports about unemployment, the recession, and how poor we all generally are these days, some luxury car brands had an exceptional sales year in 2011, and are expecting record-breaking sales numbers for this year.
Rolls-Royce tallied record deliveries in 2011 thanks to demand from China, beating marks from more than 30 years ago. Pretty impressive. Meanwhile, hopeful buyers of the Lamborghini Aventador are likely going to have to wait over a year for their cars to be delivered, thanks to higher-than-normal orders.
And the words "financial crisis" seem not to mean much to BMW and Mercedez-Benz, either, as IHS Automotive predicts their sales in 2012 will surpass their records from before the recession. Market research predicts that sales for the first part of 2012 will be up 13% from last year's numbers, with Audi AG, Daimler, and BMW all experiencing overall growth. But, these are cars that are pretty accessible to the average person; they're not six-figure cars.
But back to Rolls-Royce—it sold 3,538 cars last year, the best year of sales in its entire history. It enjoyed 47% more sales in the Asia Pacific region, 23% more in the Middle East, and in North America, the brand's most important market, it saw sales increases of 17%. But could part of this have to do with the idea that Rolls recently launched a new model? One that's significantly less expensive than the Phantom? Perhaps. The Ghost clocks in at a mere (in comparison) $250,000, while the Phantom hovers around $380,000.
So why the great sales despite what is still considered an economic downturn? For one thing, these automakers are expanding past their usual markets, heading into emerging economies where a new class of wealth is ready to flaunt their money.
"The future looks pretty rosy for these companies," said Dave Sargent, vice president of automotive research at J.D. Power & Associates.
It's an interesting juxtaposition, especially when compared to the Great Depression when most luxury makers went under. Franklin went under in 1934, Marmon in '33, Ruxton in 1930 after only opening in 1929, and Stearns-Knight ended production in 1929. Additionally, Stutz shut down in 1935, Duesenberg called it quits in '37, and Pierce-Arrow ended production in 1938, though in 2006 a group of classic car enthusiasts in Switzerland bought the rights to the brand.
This just goes to show that even when times are tough, the 1% still have plenty of money to toy around with—most of us couldn't dream of owning a $350,000 car.