Patience has its virtues.
As mainstream automakers continue to struggle (and come up with creative temporary solutions) through the semiconductor chip shortage crisis, ultra-luxury brands like Rolls-Royce have managed to hold their own. That's mainly because their respective production volume is nowhere close to companies like Ford, Toyota, and Stellantis. Far fewer chips are required. Rolls-Royce typically builds cars to order, meaning it doesn't build anything it can't sell literally right away. But don't think it's just extremely rich old people buying these cars. It's quite the opposite, in fact.
Speaking to Automotive News, Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos said not only has the company increased revenue per vehicle by pushing personalization options, specifically its bespoke program very appropriately called Coachbuild, but also by tapping into a growing segment of ultra-rich young people.
"Overall, the average age of a Rolls-Royce owner is about 43 years old. Mini is the closest in the BMW Group at about 47. This is really incredible," he said. "The reason for that is ultra-high-net-worth individuals are getting younger and younger each year. We foresaw this trend 10 years ago after talking with private banks about those individuals. That forecast proved right." When Muller-Otvos took over as CEO in 2010, the average owner age was 56.
But does having a new and younger customer list mean the marque will add a more affordable to its range? "As long as I'm in this position, that will not happen," the CEO firmly stated. "There is no reason to go into lower segments. We start now at €250,000 ($289,000). That is perfect for us."
The Rolls-Royce Ghost is the least expensive model and, quite clearly, it's anything but cheap. A fully-loaded BMW 7 Series still costs significantly less. To give you a better idea how much Rolls-Royce buyers are spending on personalization, one could literally buy a new Porsche 911 Carrera for that amount, meaning between $80,000 and $92,000. The firm's boss added a growing number of Phantoms are exceeding the $1.2 million mark. Personalization is proving to be popular because "they are coming with even more flamboyant ideas.
Rolls-Royce's success right now is further proof of why automakers always need to be constantly looking ahead, study current trends, and hopefully make accurate predictions.