Monday, November 3, 2008

Chinese High-Rollers High On Rollers

(First published in TheTruthAboutCars on November 2, 2008)

It’s not yet that Chinese mothers admonish their one-and-only child to “eat up, there are children starving back in America.” But it’s getting close. Case in point: This weekend, another Rolls-Royce showroom opened in Shenzen, Gasgoo reports. It’s the seventh Rolls Royce retail location in China. Another one, located in China’s industrial center Ningbo, will open its doors in a few months. Rollers are on a roll in China. I counted two Phantoms alone in the underground garage of my Beijing building.

At the Shenzen opening, Rolls presented their new Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupé to the Chinese public. It’s their entry model. “Nearly two-thirds of Coupé customers worldwide have not owned a Rolls-Royce before,” said Jenny Zheng, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ General Manager for Greater China. BMW are thanking their lucky stars…

While Rolls-Royce’s parent BMW saw its global sales slide by 15 percent in September, Rolls flipped their Emily at the flagging economy, and increased sales by seven percent in the same month. Year-to-date, Rolls-Royce sales rose a record 43 percent year-on-year. Granted, that total was only 827 cars. But in this economy, every car counts. Especially as each example retails at $415k base - and no true Roller proprietor will get caught in a riff-raff reeking base model. “There’s been an 80 per cent increase in the number of vehicles sold this year with some form of bespoke element,” says the British Autocarmagazine with the appropriate nasal accent. Not surprisingly, sales in the United Arab Emirates are up by around 70 per cent. China? Fifty percent rise.

You think it’s a fluke? Further in the same vein(ity), New Delhi’s Financial Express reports “that Mercedes Benz India has registered an impressive 47% growth in car sales for the first 10 months of the current calendar year.” Sales of C-class Benzes more than doubled. Holy cow! And by the way, Time Magazine already said two years ago that Chinese children are getting fat.

(Picture courtesy Kaeyau. Thank you!)

No comments: