Rolls-Royce sold 5,152 of its luxury cars last year, the highest number in its 116-year history.
Torsten Müller-Otvös, the chief executive, said he was “very smiley, very happy” as he announced an “extraordinary year” of global sales.
Müller-Otvös said sales had increased by 25% on the 4,107 cars sold in 2018, driven mostly by demand for the Cullinan, its three-tonne sports utility vehicle. The SUV, named after the biggest diamond, costs upwards of £264,000 and was launched in May 2018.
“Worldwide demand last year for our Cullinan SUV has driven this success and is expected to stabilize in 2020,” Müller-Otvössaid. “It is a ringing testament to the quality and integrity of our products, the faith and passion of our customers and, above all, the skill, dedication and determination of our exceptional team in Goodwood and around the world and our dedicated global dealer network.”
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, as the company is officially known to distinguish it from jet-engine maker Rolls-Royce, said sales were strongest in the US. About a third of its cars were delivered to customers in North America, followed by China, which accounted for about a quarter.
“We are not really in the car business – we are in the luxury goods business,” he told the BBC. “All our clients have multiple cars in their garages. It is more that you look for something that’s very special. We are famous for bespoke so you can basically customize a Rolls-Royce to build your own masterpiece and I think that has attracted quite a lot of clients worldwide.”
Müller-Otvös said the number of cars designed to customers’ specifications hit a new high in 2019.