Rolls-Royce plans ‘India edition’ this year

After the huge success of its Phantom model in the ‘Year of the Dragon’ in China, legendary British carmaker Rolls-Royce plans to launch an “India edition” of its super luxury cars by the end of the current calendar year.

It plans to roll out bespoke version of the Ghost or Phantom models to suit the taste of its Indian customers.

The India edition will be for a “very limited” number and will be designed after talking to customers and dealers in the country, said Herfried Hasenoehrl, general manager for emerging markets, Asia.

Rolls-Royce, which opened its showroom here, plans to come out with the India edition in the fourth quarter of 2013.

“In India we have seen in the last two to three years that our customers have such a high standard of taste that we need to get a little bit more into it,” Hasenoehrl said.

He pointed out that the Year of Dragon edition launched a year-and-half ago in China was so successful that it was sold to some extent in other markets as well. “In Middle East, we sell cars which are uniquely designed for customers in Middle East with their taste.”

Elaborating on what he means by an ‘India edition’, Hasenoehrl said it could be anything India specific like national animal peacock or historic sites like Gateway of India, India Gate or Charminar.

“This will not work with each and every customer. We are not talking about 30 or 40 cars. We are talking about a very small number. For this number we will find perfect edition. It will be unique, sold only in India and nowhere else,” he said.

With its third showroom after Mumbai and New Delhi, Rolls-Royce has returned to this historic southern city, where its ruler had once owned a fleet of over 50 super luxury cars.

Mir Osman Ali Khan, the seventh and last Nizam of then Hyderabad state, said to be the richest man of his times, had a collection which includes a Barker coach-built Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, which he acquired in 1912 and used as a ceremonial coach.

Paul Haris, Asia Pacific regional director, Rolls-Royce, said they would open two more showrooms in India during 2013. While the first one would come up at Chandigarh, the second is likely at Ahmedabad.

Hasenoehrl later told IANS that the firm also planned to have a showroom at Chennai, where it already has a service facility. He, however, clarified that there is no firm commitment.

He hoped the expansion of dealer network would help them achieve three-digit sales in India. The company was already close to it, he said and hinted at the possibility of crossing the mark this year.

“To achieve this kind of volumes sustainably, you have to have five or six dealerships. We are on the road to achieve this. China sells over 1,000 units a year because they have 22 dealers,” he said.

The carmaker, which returned to India in 2005 after half a century, started developing the market since 2010. It has sold 250 cars in India during last one decade.

India last year ranked third in Asia Pacific exclusive of China. The 108-year-old carmaker’s global sales in 2012 were 3,500.

In India, Rolls-Royce at present has six models of Ghost and Phantom families, priced between Rs.3.2 crore to Rs.4.9 crore.

It will be launching the Wraith in Geneva next month. This latest offering is expected to be available in India by the end of 2013.



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