Rolls-Royce Ltd sold 3,630 cars last year, making 2013 the company’s fourth consecutive record-breaking year. And sales have never been higher.
Much of the success can be credited to China, which is now the top global market for the luxury automaker. In 2013, sales of Rolls-Royce vehicles — which sell for over $250,000 each — in the country grew 11 percent. These sales accounted for 28 percent of overall sales (up from 25 percent in 2012), overtaking the US market.
Seven of the 15 dealerships Rolls-Royce opened last year were in China, increasing the country’s total number to 20. The new dealerships have been placed in new locations, such as the second- and third-tier cities of Xi’an and Chongqing, and expansion continues. By the end of 2014, the company hopes to have 25 dealerships across the country.
But why the recent success? Mike Bastin of China Daily believes that “self-reward” among Chinese consumers is the answer.
Although elitism and consumer taste for status symbols certainly factor into the boom, Bastin thinks that many of the sales come from customers who have achieved financial success through hard work and merit and wish to reward themselves accordingly. Such purchases reflect growing economic opportunity in China.
“Far from revealing selfish, decadent behavior, the Rolls-Royce buyer behavior in China is a just reward for all those self-made businesspeople whose hard work, and often entrepreneurial and innovative flair, represents a much-needed change in China,” Bastin writes.
The Rolls-Royce boom, then, is “an encouraging sign for the future of the Chinese economy,” an economy whose growth has somewhat slowed as of late.
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