How have your used car prices changed?
They are up by 20 percent to 50 percent depending on the model and market. Prices are reaching their peak point. Customers who don’t want to wait, as they seek instant gratification, are turning to our Provenance Rolls-Royce [the company’s certified used car program]. This is a great business condition for a luxury brand president.
Is it true that Rolls-Royce has the youngest average age of owners within the BMW Group, and this is mainly due to Asia?
No, that’s true globally. Overall, the average age of a Rolls-Royce owner is about 43 years old. Mini is the closest in the BMW Group at about 47. This is really incredible. The reason for that is ultra-high net worth individuals are getting younger and younger each year. We foresaw this trend 10 years ago after talking with private banks about those individuals. That forecast proved right.
What was the average age of owners when you took over as Rolls-Royce CEO in April 2010?
It was 56. Since then, it had decreased every year. To put this into perspective, to have an average of 43 means that for every 60-year-old buyer we get we need somebody who is 20. We have met many of them. They are often young people with great business ideas who have made a lot of money and buy a Rolls-Royce.
With so many younger buyers, will you add a less expensive model to lower the entry point into the brand?
As long as I’m in this position, that will not happen. There is no reason to go into lower segments. We start now at 250,000 euros [excluding sales tax]. That is perfect for us. Also, our customers would hate us if we went downmarket. That’s the last thing they want to see. That’s why you don’t hear me talking about sales numbers or making projections on where we might be in a couple of years. I never do that. Have you ever heard how many Birkin bags that Hermes sells? Probably not. That’s exactly how you need to operate in the luxury segment. We are in a rare biosphere. Nobody needs us to go from A to B. Nobody!
How much do your customers typically spend to personalize their cars?
On average it’s about 70,000 to 80,000 euros. When it comes to the bespoke commissioning of ideas, we see cars easily doubling their initial price. That is quite substantial because it’s not driven marketing. The customer’s imagination is our limit not the other way around. So, the aim is to fulfill every customer’s dream as long as it is safe and technically viable. We are selling several Phantoms at prices that exceed 1 million euros.
Potentially taking those prices one step further is the re-establishment of your so-called Coachbuild department for special projects such as the Boat Tail. Could you share its starting price?
We haven’t revealed the price, but there has been some speculation that it could be the