Covid spurs luxury car maker’s sales

Wealthy motorists splash out after realizing ‘life can be short’

Automaker Rolls-Royce said 2021 was “a phenomenal year” for the company, as it booked the highest annual sales in its 117-year history of 5,586 vehicles globally.

That made the brand the “undisputed leader in the €250,000-plus segment,” according to Rolls-Royce’s chief executive, Torsten Muller-Otvos.

He explained that the pandemic helped the brand sell a record number of cars because it reminded customers, whose average age was 43, about their own mortality. “Many people witnessed people in their community dying from Covid and that made them think life can be short and you’d better live now rather than postpone until a later date,” he said, adding: “That has helped Rolls-Royce.”

The BMW-owned company also benefited from the restrictions the pandemic has placed on wealthy consumers’ opportunities to spend their money elsewhere. “It is very much due to Covid that the entire luxury business is booming worldwide,” the chief executive said. “People couldn’t travel a lot; they couldn’t invest a lot into luxury services … and there is quite a lot of money accumulated that is spent on luxury goods.”

Muller-Otvos also said sales grew in every part of the world, with Greater China and the Americas remaining the two largest markets.

Rolls-Royce’s Phantom model was its biggest seller, but the Cullinan SUV accounted for 30% of 2021 sales.

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