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December 16, 2006

China's Ultra Rich Splurge on Rollys-Royce and Maybach Cars

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 12/16/2006 05:25:00 PM
In the United Arab Emirates, the king's palace is a museum for slick and fancy cars like the BMW 745iL, the Rolls Royce Phantom, and the Maybach 62.

In China, the ultra-wealthy are splurging and spending on new cars. Rolls Royce, owned by German carmaker BMW, said it expects to sell 70 Phantom vehicles this year in China including Hong Kong which will enable the world's most populous country to unseat Japan as the firm's No 3 single market after the United States and the United Kingdom.

On Thursday in Hong Kong, Rolls Royce delivered its largest order yet 14 Phantoms to Sir Michael Kadoorie's Peninsula Hotel.

The Rolls-Royce Phantom is an ultra-luxury sedan automobile made by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in Great Britain, a BMW subsidiary. It was launched in 2003 and is the first Rolls-Royce branded car made under the ownership of BMW. The base price is 250,000 lbs or $340,000 in the US.

To further boost China sales, the brand plans to add three dealerships in Hangzhou, Shenzhen and Chengdu. It now has one each in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.

Year Sales
2003 300
2004 792
2005 796
Through November 2006 642
Total 2530
In a telephone interview on Friday, Jenny Zheng, general manager of Rolls Royce Motor Cars Greater China, said: "China's thriving economy is creating very successful people in all business areas at a staggering pace. This is a big opportunity for us and other luxury car manufacturers."

"The more important thing is that our customers here are much younger than those in other markets," Zheng said.

Rolls Royce owners in China are on average more than 10 years younger than elsewhere, she added.

The Maybach Exelero
Maybach, another ultra-luxury car brand, which is controlled by Mercedes Car Group, is also enjoying fast sales growth in China.

Maybach 62S

Anthea Wang, a spokeswoman of Mercedes China, said: "Maybach's sales here will more than double this year from 2005," but she declined to reveal a specific figure.

China is very close to one of Maybach's top five markets in the world, she said.

To lure Chinese buyers, Maybach's 62 Special Edition made its global debut at last month's Beijing international auto show. The model retails in China for a cool US$1 million.

Maybach now has two exhibition and sales centres in Beijing and Shanghai. Wang said it is considering building a third centre in Guangzhou "in the near future."

Many of the ultra-luxury cars displayed at the 10-day Beijing auto show were sold, raising more than 100 million yuan (US$12.8 million), a fact that demonstrates the immense purchasing power of rich Chinese people.

However, Yale Zhang, the Shanghai-based director of emerging markets vehicle forecasts for auto consultancy CSM Asia in Shanghai, said ultra luxury cars will account for a tiny ratio of China's entire vehicle market as only those super rich people will buy them.

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