Pandemic, what pandemic? How Rolls-Royce notched up record sales in 2021

Published: 10 January 2022

► Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ record 2021
► Goodwood sold 5586 cars last year
► Pent-up demand – despite Covid
 

If you think the pandemic forced the world’s super-rich to clamp their wallets shut, think again. Rolls-Royce has just announced its highest-ever sales in 117 years – with 5586 new cars registered. That’s up 49% on 2020. 

The Cullinan SUV and Ghost both accounted for around 40% of sales, and Goodwood revealed that its approved-used sales have also gone up. 

A record year: which country was buying the most Rolls-Royces in 2021?

Greater China and the Americas both contributed around 30% of those sales; Europe made up a firth, while the Middle East and Asia both accounted for 10% of Rolls’ global sales mix.  

Of the smaller markets, there were record figures in Korea and Russia. 

The boss speaks

Chief exec Torsten Müller-Ötvös (below) said: ‘We are not volume-driven. But if there is demand, I’m interested in satisfying it. I don’t forsee us going into five-digit numbers. At the heart of this ethos lies the requirement of rarity. Rolls-Royce will remain rare and precious.’ 

Torsten Müller-Ötvös

No other manufacturer sells more cars in the €250,000-plus sector, the CEO said. The delivery time for a new Rolls-Royce currently stands at a year or more for most models. 

How was this possible amid Covid? 

In part because the luxury market was awash with money that people couldn’t spend in the usual ways. ‘2021 was the most volatile, unpredictable and challenging year for businesses across the board,’ said Müller-Ötvös. 

‘In the luxury sector as a whole, the struggle was on finding sufficient products to satisfy demand. People couldn’t travel a lot, so there’s quite a lot of money accumulated, and we benefitted from that. Life can be short – better live now than postpone to a later date.’

Preparing for the switch to electric Rolls-Royces  

Goodwood has highly flexible production processes, enabling swift response to changes in demand and is currently planning investment in a replacement for the 20-year-old paintshop. It’s currently working at close to capacity for the 2000+ workforce. 

‘We will continue to invest in our manufacturing plant in anticipation of electrification,’ the boss added.  

The plan is to gradually transition to an all-electric range by 2030. See our separate scoop on the new Spectre EV here.

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By Colin Overland

CAR's managing editor: wordsmith, critic, purveyor of fine captions

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