Car owners around the world who are looking to buy the ultimate in luxurious vehicles have helped to boost the sales figures of Rolls-Royce. This has seen trading figures accelerate to a new half-year record up to June, compared with last year.
The world-famous British founded motor company, who sell their top of the range Phantom models at a starting price of more than £300,000, announced that worldwide sales in the first six months of 2014 had reached 1,968, which was up 33.4 per cent on the same period for last year.
Rolls Royce enjoyed their strongest growth in Europe, where they saw sales rise by more than 60 per cent, with Germany being a particularly good performer as they enjoyed sales doubling. In the Asia Pacific region, sales increased by nearly 40 per cent over six months, whilst the Middle East recorded a 30 per cent surge in sales.
The motor company has a policy of not breaking out sales by model and country. However, it is understood that the market in the US has now overtaken China as the world’s largest marketplace for the car’s business.
Chief executive of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Torsten Muller-Otvos said, “This is an excellent half-year result and demonstrates the continued confidence that our customers have in our company and our fine cars. We are on target for another record year in 2014.”
When looking at the models that the company produces for a global market, the base price of the Ghost, their cheapest model, is about £200,000 before buyers even start to specify what bespoke extras and trim levels they wish to add.
The remarkable Rolls-Royce story dates back to 1904, when engineer Frederick Henry Royce teamed up with Charles Stewart Rolls, to begin an automobile company. In 1907, the pair produced the Silver Ghost, a car which cemented the Rolls Royce name as the embodiment for craftsmanship and excellence when it completed a 14,371-mile journey almost without having to make a stop.
As we reached the time of the First World War, the company was producing military machines, but when the hostilities ended, Rolls-Royce resumed their car production. However, they also used the engineering expertise that had been developed to aid Britain’s profile in the emerging field of aviation and in 1925 the company released the Phantom I, which replaced the Silver Ghost.
By 1929, the Rolls-Royce ‘R’ engine had been constructed to power Britain’s entry into the Schneider Trophy seaplane contest, where it managed to set a new air speed record. The ‘R’ engine then became the Merlin, which had been developed to power a significant amount of the British fighters and bombers that took part in the Second World War.
Rolls-Royce engines were helping Britain to claim more records in the 1930s, including being the power behind Sir Malcolm Campbell’s Bluebird as it set a new land speed record of 272.46mph in 1933. During this decade, Rolls-Royce was to also release restructured versions of the Phantom, which was able to manage an incredible top-speed for the time of 92.3mph.
Following the production of the aero engines during WWII at their Crewe factory, which became the company’s base and still has links to the luxury Bentley brand to this day, Rolls-Royce expanded their range in the 1940s to include the Silver Wraith with a coach-built body and a 4,877cc engine. They also manufactured the Silver Dawn, which was the first car they produced with a standard steel body.
As we reached the 1950s, Rolls-Royce had begun an association with the Royal family as HRH Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh took delivery of the original Phantom IV. There were only eighteen of these models ever produced, which were designed exclusively for heads of state and royalty.
The motor company had adopted a number of new engineering techniques by 1965, which allowed them to launch the Silver Shadow 1, the first Rolls-Royce motor that used a lightweight monocoque chassis, which achieved a top speed of 118mph and produced 220bhp.
The 1970s saw Rolls-Royce go into receivership and split into two separate companies. One became a specialist in the manufacturing of aircraft engines, whilst the other concentrated on the production of high-class cars. Despite these financial troubles, many notable cars were still fashioned including the Corniche and Camargue, the latter being styled by Italian design house Pininfarina.
By the 1980’s, leading defence company Vickers had purchased Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited, floating the business on the stock exchange five years later. As well as being able to update its range of models with the production of motors including the Silver Spirit and Silver Spur during this decade, Rolls-Royce embarked on harking back to its past glories when they launched the Thrust 2. This car was powered by Rolls-Royce jet engines and broke the land speed record when achieving a speed of 633.468mph.
Ownership of the world renowned Rolls-Royce Company was to change hands again in 1998, when being bought by Germany’s BMW and the business ceased their production at their Crewe plant after more than 50 years.
The 1990’s also saw the launch of the Silver Seraph, which was developed alongside BMW technology, effectively producing the first all-new vehicle since the launch of the Silver Shadow more than 30 years before.
Rolls-Royce has now based itself at Goodwood in West Sussex and can boast a stunning range of models, which now includes the Phantom after the company’s designers embarked on trying to build what they aimed to be the best car in the world. There is also the renowned Ghost series and the more recently developed Rolls-Royce Wraith, which is a smaller and sportier vehicle.