Tuesday, July 22, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Luxury Rolls-Royce car sales soar worldwide

Britain Rolls Royce

Pedestrians look through a window towards a special edition Phantom Drophead Coupe Rolls Royce in a show room in London, Tuesday, July 8, 2014. Sales of luxury Rolls-Royce cars, which cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, have soared worldwide. The Britain-based manufacturer said Tuesday that global sales in the first half of the year were up 33 percent compared with the same period in 2013. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

By
From page C1 | July 18, 2014 |

LONDON — They are rolling symbols of wealth and excess, starting at $263,000 a pop, with many buyers choosing custom options that can easily double the price. And they are more popular than ever before.

Rolls-Royce reported a startling rise in demand for their distinctive cars Tuesday.

The British-made cars, updated to reflect the technical know-how and marketing might of parent company BMW, have become must-haves for the new global elite. That group is growing in number even as much of the world struggles to get by in an era of low growth, low expectations and high unemployment.

The company said 1,968 cars were sold in the first half of this year compared to 1,475 in the same period last year.

The 33 percent rise in sales for the first six months of 2014 compared to the same period last year is explained not just by the cars’ plush leather seats and gleaming paintwork — those are old standbys for the brand, which used to focus on the British aristocracy — but also by the rising number of billionaires worldwide.

A Forbes survey says there are 1,645 billionaires in the world, 219 more than a year ago.

“If you look at the number of ultra-high net worth individuals around the world, that number is clearly growing,” said company spokesman Andrew Ball. “The luxury market is growing at the high end and we are delighted to be part of that.”

The phenomenon helps to explain the strong sales of mega-yachts, rare jewelry and complicated, handmade Swiss watches. There are more people with more money looking for ways to stand out from the crowd — and in this context, a Rolls becomes a very noticeable statement.

Ball said 70 percent of Rolls buyers are new to the brand, and roughly half choose to customize their cars by adding expensive personal touches. The cost of making a Rolls “bespoke” — the British term for custom-made suits — rather than “off the rack” can dwarf many household budgets.

“It can be simple, like having your initials stitched into the headrest or the veneer,” said Ball. “Customers enjoy this. It’s an emotional process.”

It’s also a level of consumerism that soars as high as London’s famous Shard skyscraper: A refrigerator inside the automobile can be custom built to accommodate the shape and size of the owner’s favorite beverage — at a cost rivalling a year in a U.S. college.

The company is opening its first showroom in Cambodia. But it remains an essentially British product, enjoyed by Queen Elizabeth II and evoking the opulence of the Downton Abbey era.

At Rolls-Royce Motor Cars London, the showroom in a particularly posh section of Mayfair, visitors are drawn to a sparkling black Phantom (starting at $600,000) and the Wraith, a bargain at $400,000 unless you want some options. The back of the dealership resembles a home furnishings store, with samples of different woods and hides.

Gone are the days when Rolls-Royce traditionalists sneered at Beatle John Lennon for adding a psychedelic paint job to his Phantom V. When a man walked into the Mayfair showroom carrying his wife’s favorite pink lipstick and asking for a Rolls in the same shade, the company was happy to provide one, said salesman Stephen Foulds.

He said the customer base was growing younger, with one Chinese man in his 20s recently ordering his second Rolls in an unusual all-white color scheme. Another traded in his Lamborghini when he was starting a family because he needed a backseat.

Octane Magazine deputy editor Mark Dixon said Rolls Royce has also managed to shed its image of producing fuddy-duddy machines. He loved the quirky touches that make a Rolls unique, like the starlight roof headlining that comes as an option with the Phantom coupe.

“There are hundreds of little LEDs set into the roof lining, it seems like the night sky when you’re driving at night,” he said. “There was disquiet about this great British brand being bought by the Germans, but most people agree now it was a good move.”

He said BMW has introduced state-of-the-art features to Rolls — like the satellite-assisted gearbox technology that can see a hairpin curve before the driver does and adjust the gearbox accordingly — and given new models real zip.

“You could describe the Ghost as a hot rod, it really is a fast car,” he said. “It has a twin turbo V-12 which goes like a scalded cat. It actually handles much better than you would expect.”

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Weather for Tuesday, July 22, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

 
Library friends set spring book sale

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5

 
 
Carpenters training center set to expand in Fairfield

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 2 Comments | Gallery

Man, woman, comic and dance contest primed for box office

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

 
Polk first to file for Fairfield council

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5

Rockville Trails hike on August calendar

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

 
Governor signs 2 bills by Frazier into law

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5

 
Video chair exercise class returns to senior center

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

2 Vacaville homes hit by gunfire

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

 
.

US / World

Detroit retirees vote in favor of pension cuts

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Clinton: US, Europe should get tough on Russia

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 2 Comments

Gaza death toll rises as truce effort intensifies

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Israeli aircraft hit more than 70 targets in Gaza

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Rebels release train with bodies from downed jet

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Genetic mapping triggers new hope on schizophrenia

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Afghan vet who fought wounded gets Medal of Honor

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Hopkins pays $190M in pelvis exam pix settlement

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Ex-teacher convicted of pushing wife off cliff

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment

 
Full-contact youth football practices restricted

By The Associated Press | From Page:

BART police enforce stretching ban at stations

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment

 
 
Report: Retaliation by supervisors common at VA

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Law blocks some brown lawn fees during droughts

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 3 Comments

 
California won’t send troops to Mexican border

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment

Murder charges filed in California bank robbery

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment

 
Cause of deaths in FedEx truck-bus crash released

By The Associated Press | From Page:

California reduces deportations for minor crimes

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment

 
Official: State can send inmates to medical site

By The Associated Press | From Page:

.

Opinion

 
Walmart donation benefits Meals on Wheels

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

Batson’s column on Mideast peace is wrong

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 3 Comments

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: July 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page:

 
.

Entertainment

Love and Manson guest on ‘Sons of Anarchy’

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
‘Fargo’ gets 2nd season on FX with new cast, crime

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Box office top 20: ‘Apes’ holds reign with $36.3M

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
TVGrid July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

.

Sports

Hugo Perez Elite Training Camp to be held in Vallejo

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

 
Duvall, Kontos help Giants beat Phillies

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Lady Vols coach wants a stronger finishing touch

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Gail Goestenkors quits WNBA job, enters hoops hall

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Chamberlain’s arm and beard fitting in with Tigers

By The Associated Press | From Page:

This date in sports history for Tuesday, July 22, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Big 12 commish’s dire warning about pending change

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Big Papi passes Yaz with 453rd career home run

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Chargers bolt into camp with high hopes

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Broncos primed for another super run

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Seattle says what happened last season is history

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Tony Stewart riding high from sprint car victory

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Head of 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics resigns

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
6 South Americans refuse to return to Donetsk club

By The Associated Press | From Page:

BMC, Team-Garmin Sharp back for USA Pro Challenge

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Tour leader Nibali: A ‘flag-bearer’ against doping

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Witness: Sterling needs Clippers sale to pay debts

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Jeter turns small part of attention to business

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Raiders enter camp with ‘chip’ on shoulders

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

49ers start fresh after forgettable offseason

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Cain heads to DL with elbow injury

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
.

Business

Microsoft makes design central to its future

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment

 
Allergan to cut 1,500 employees in restructuring

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Zits july 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Garfield July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Blondie July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Bridge July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Beetle Bailey July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

B.C. July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Crossword July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Baldo July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sudoku July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Dilbert July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Frank and Ernest July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Word Sleuth July 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5