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Middle East helps drive up Rolls-Royce sales for 2013

Luxury British automaker reports 17% sales growth in the region

Ben Flanagan

Published: Updated:

Sales of Rolls-Royce cars in the Middle East rose by 17 percent in 2013, helping push the global tally to a record 3,630, the luxury automaker said today.

The Middle East “was one of our strongest-growing regions”, company spokesman Andrew Ball said.

“In percentage [of our total sales], the U.S. and China are our top markets, followed by the Middle East,” Ball added.

The Middle East business now accounts for 19 percent of the iconic British automaker’s total sales, Rolls-Royce chief executive Torsten Müller-Ötvös told Al Arabiya News.

Rolls-Royce, which is owned by BMW, has 10 dealerships in seven Middle East countries. While it is “looking” at opening more in the region, there are no concrete plans at the moment, Müller-Ötvös said.

Globally, Rolls-Royce sold 3,630 cars in 2013, marking the fourth consecutive year of record sales, the company said.

Countries such as Germany, Japan, Qatar and Canada recorded strong sales performances. But the picture was less rosy in euro zone countries like Spain, Italy and France, Müller-Ötvös said. “It’s not very pleasing to see what’s happening there,” he said. “It’s not, for us, big business.”

The global economy and oil prices influence sales in Rolls-Royce motors, said Müller-Ötvös. But it is not a matter of customers being able to afford the pricy vehicles, he added.

“It is never a matter of ‘do I have enough money to buy a Rolls-Royce?’ They always have enough money. It’s more about the sentiment,” he said.

Rolls-Royce plans to create 100 jobs at its Goodwood manufacturing plant in 2014, and plans to increase capacity at the UK base.

The company is looking at early designs for a luxury SUV vehicle, Müller-Ötvös said – although he added that any launch of such a car is some way off. “We are looking into it [but] there is no rush for us,” he said.