Rolls-Royce on a roll
Consumer response is above expectations
A year after Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Bangkok (RRMCB) was appointed as the authorised importer of the British luxury marque, business has been speeding along.
Although there could be fewer than 50 Rolls-Royce vehicles in Thailand, and spectacular sales figures aren't something that this brand usually targets, things are about to change.
The consumer response to Rolls-Royce in Thailand has in fact been above expectations. At the Bangkok International Motor Show last month, RRMCB - which is part of Master Group Corporation (Asia) - received four orders that included the Rolls-Royce Ghost Art Deco, a limited edition with only 35 being made.
"The most expensive car at the show is Rolls-Royce and they received four orders this year," said Jaturont Komolmis, vice chairman of the organising committee.
This is expected to dramatically strengthen Rolls-Royce's confidence in the Thai market and its Thai partner.
Herfried Hasenoehrl, general manager for emerging markets Asia, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said the company sold a record 3,575 vehicles globally last year and Thailand is an important market in the Asia-Pacific region.
He said that although Rolls-Royce had more competitors in 2012 and had to face fluctuations in the global economy as well as political unrest, it was still able to achieve increased sales.
"The Thai market grew above expectations last year, and things are promising this year as well. Our participation at the Bangkok motor show reflects our determination in this market. Thailand represents a new start for Rolls-Royce, and we took 9-12 months to study the market before deciding to re-enter it once again," he said.
"Although sales in Thailand may not be as spectacular as in the United States or China, where more than 1,000 cars were sold last year, Thailand plays a part in our historic growth, and it will become a very important market for us in the future," he added.
Hasenoehrl said Rolls-Royce sales in Asia grew by 18 per cent last year, which is much higher than the average 1-per-cent global growth, while sales in Thailand beat the target by more than 30 per cent.
"In 2012 our dealer partner managed to over-achieve the originally set target by more than 30 per cent. We are confident at this moment that an over-achievement will be possible in 2013 too. However, at this moment it is too early to confirm this," he said.
Rolls-Royce is present in other Asean countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines, which he said will also become markets with high potential in the future.
The company is putting much emphasis on Thailand, which is the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to get a prototype showroom. The two-storey facility was opened last year, and a second showroom will open its doors at the Paragon shopping centre later this month.
RRMCB general manager Chatvithai Tantraporn said the Ghost Art Deco is an example of Rolls-Royce's intention to offer personalised vehicles for its customers.
Other models offered in Thailand are the Phantom (with a short wheelbase and long wheelbase) and the Ghost (long wheelbase only).
"The expanding range of Rolls-Royce models will draw in younger customers to the brand as well," he said.