China: Rolls-Royce sales impacted by luxury rundown image

Sales of the ultra luxury British brand Rolls-Royce have been affected by the government’s backlash on graft and lavish spending, with China’s wealthy holding off on ostentatious purchases and waiting for a calmer period.

Rolls-Royce’s slide is a reflection of the entire luxury industry, with China’s rich now carefully spending their money as not to attract unwanted attention. “There’s a cool wind blowing in China on Rolls-Royce sales,” commented Peter Schwarzenbauer, the BMW Group board member who oversees the ultra luxury division. “We’ve adjusted production,” and they are now ready to face a drop as steep as 15 percent in deliveries in the country. Even Audi, the top selling premium car brand in the country has announced its first sales drop in the market in at least two years. BMW’s own core brand sales also slowed last month in China for the first time in ten years. Premium automakers were until now used to double-digit year-on-year jumps as the newly wealthy Chinese consumers flocked to spend their money on lavish models.

“The money is there, but people don’t want to show off by driving around in a Rolls-Royce,” added the top executive at BMW AG. Rolls-Royce’s global sales, which include the 345,000-euro ($385,800) Phantom limousine, have gone down 13 percent during the first three months of the year to 781 units. Last year the ultra luxury brand reached a production record of 4,063 vehicles, jumping 12 percent from the figure tallied in 2013.

Via Automotive News Europe