Rolls-Royce Rides New Ghost to Record Sales Result

Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Rolls-Royce CEO is smiling, and with good reason: record sales for its luxury vehicles.

Rolls-Royce announced Monday its sales in 2021 were the highest in the brand’s 117-year history.

Sales rose to 5,586 units in more than 50 countries, up 49% compared to the same period in 2020. The company saw record results in most regions, including Greater China, the Americas and Asia-Pacific, as well as multiple countries elsewhere.

Torsten Müller-Ötvös, chief executive officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars called the demand “unprecedented,” and credited the first full year of availability of Ghost, the launch of Ghost Black Badge, and record demand for Bespoke personalization for the brand’s strong performance.

“This is hugely encouraging as we prepare for the historic launch of Spectre, our first all-electric car,” he said. “Building on this year’s success, we will continue to evolve as a true luxury brand.”

The arrival of the Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge helped stoke demand.

What proved popular

Most of the demand was driven by the Ghost sedan, which underwent a redesign for 2021. There was also a strong push for the Phantom and particularly the Cullinan SUV.

Given the strong demand for luxury goods as well as cars, it’s not surprising that its Bespoke commissions are at an all-time high, helped in part by Rolls-Royce Coachbuild, the revival of the brand’s custom coachbuilding tradition. 

Of course, Rolls-Royce has always offered vehicle customization, and still does. But in recent decades, that’s largely been limited to exterior colors and various interior details, such as woods, fabrics and options like a champagne cooler or custom seat.

Coachbuild brings with it a new dimension, and a far higher price point, ensuring the brand’s continued dominance at the very top of the automotive market. 

2021 Rolls-Royce Cullinan side at Pismo Beach
While all Rolls-Royce models are enjoying strong demand, the Cullinan is one of the prime drivers.

Demand remains strong, despite the pandemic

Rolls-Royce is currently running two shifts, and its Goodwood plant is near maximum capacity, and the company’s order books are currently filled through the third quarter of 2021.

Strong sales for premium vehicles in Asia, China and the United States means other luxury automakers are seeing similar results. Rolls-Royce’s parent company, BMW, said its U.S. sales increased 20.8% on total sales of 336,644 compared to the 278,732 vehicles sold in 2020. Worldwide, the company said BMW said it enjoyed record sales of more than 2.2 million BMWs in 2021, outstripping 2019 sales despite semiconductor chip shortages.

Roll-Royce’s biggest competitor, Bentley, saw sales increase 31% in 2021 to reaching a record 14,659 units, led by the Bentayga, the brand’s most popular vehicle for the fifth consecutive year, driven mostly by strong demand from the U.S. and China.

The new Boat Tail is part of an aggressive push in custom coachwork by Rolls-Royce.

What’s next for Rolls-Royce

In a word: electrification. The brand’s first electric car, the Spectre, is expected to come to market by the fourth quarter of 2023. The company is currently testing the new model, putting it through more than 1.5 million miles of testing, equivalent to more than 400 years of use for a Rolls‑Royce.

The CEO sees electrification as a perfect fit for Rolls-Royce. “It is silent, refined and creates torque almost instantly, going on to generate tremendous power. This is what we at Rolls-Royce call ‘waftability,’” CEO Ötvös said late last year.

But the company could be venturing beyond its current product range. While talking about the company and what’s, Ötvös said that, “we will continue to evolve as a true luxury brand, beyond the realms of automotive manufacturing.”