New era, same success: Rolls-Royce sales the biggest ever | CAR Magazine

New era, same success: Rolls-Royce sales the biggest ever

Published: 08 January 2024 Updated: 09 January 2024

Slight increase in 2023 to global record of 6032
► Electric Spectre brings in new customers
► Biggest model was Cullinan SUV

Rolls-Royce has had its most successful sales year ever. In 2023 it sold 6032 cars, up slightly on 2022’s record output of 6021.

As before, the USA was the biggest market, followed by China. There was growth to record levels in the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Euope.

The biggest-selling model was the Cullinan SUV, followed by the Ghost, the smaller of Rolls-Royce’s two saloons.

During 2023 production ended for the V12-powered Wraith coupe and Dawn convertible, and customers began to take delivery of the Spectre, which by the end of 2030 will form part of an electric-only line-up.

Rolls Royce Spectre

Rolls-Royce always insists that big sales figures aren’t the aim. Increasingly, the emphasis is on customised models from the Bespoke division, which may not make huge numbers of cars but does add a healthy amount of profit, and pioneers the use of new techniques and different materials.

New chief executive Chris Brownridge, who took on the role last autumn, said: ‘It’s especially encouraging to see the enormous interest in and demand for Spectre, supporting the decision to adopt a bold, all-electric strategy for future model development and production. The record level of Bespoke commissions, both by volume and value, also underlines our position within the luxury sector, offering our clients opportunities for self-expression and personalisation they cannot find anywhere else.’ 

To nurture relationships with high-spending individuals around the globe, Rolls is expanding its network of so-called Private Offices. The first was opened in Dubai in 2002, with Shanghai opening in 2023, and the US and South Korea set to follow in 2024. The idea is that customers who can’t easily get to Goodwood can visit their nearest Private Office to mull over the details of their Bespoke project in consultation with Rolls-Royce designers and engineers.

Brownridge added: ‘As incoming CEO, I’m in the extremely fortunate position of taking over responsibility for a business in robust good health, with strong foundations and a clear strategy for growth and development, formidable technical capabilities and a focused, dedicated team. I’m looking forward to working with the entire Rolls-Royce team to maintain this momentum and take this great company forward with confidence and conviction.’

Rolls Royce creates

Research by the London School of Economics, commissioned by Rolls-Royce, calculates that the company has contributed more than £4 billion to the UK economy since the Goodwood site opened in 2003 under BMW ownership, and now injects around £500 million a year.

From an initial workforce of around 300 people 20 years ago, building on average one Phantom per day, there are now more than 2500 staff at Goodwood. That includes 180 new posts created in 2023. Rolls-Royce’s commitment to nurturing talented craftspeople including taking on 27 apprentices last year; they’ll spend two to four years working alongside experienced staff, combined with studying for vocational qualifications.

By Colin Overland

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