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autoOctober 19, 2022

Middle East car buyers rush to place Rolls-Royce Spectre orders: CEO

RIYADH: Rolls-Royce has received at least 300 orders for its new all-electric Spectre, many from Middle East customers who have traditionally been big buyers of the world’s most famous luxury car.

Torsten Muller-Otvos, chief executive office of Rolls-Royce, which is owned by BMW of Germany, told Arab News that Middle East buyers formed a substantial number of the Rolls-Royce enthusiasts who had seen the new car and placed orders for the vehicle expected to be delivered toward the end of next year.

He said: “There were quite some orders from the Middle East, and also from the US and Asia. They were so keen to see it. The resonance of Spectre has been fantastic and exceeds what we thought it would be in the beginning.

“There have been serious customer orders with substantial down-payments, which is how we measure interest.”

The Middle East, where the UAE and Saudi Arabia are the two biggest markets for Rolls-Royce, currently comprises about 10 percent of global sales of 5,586 cars last year and is forecast to grow significantly as Gulf economies stand out as one of the few recession-resilient areas of the world.

Muller-Otvos pointed out that he did not think the risks of global recession currently feared by many economists would affect the company’s prospects.

“With inflation rising, many people think what a great asset a Rolls-Royce would be and invest in that. The ongoing order flow is increasing,” he added.

The CEO noted that, while the company had serious commitments to sustainable goals across its operations, the move to an all-electric car had not been driven by an environmental agenda.

“It’s not a step toward becoming green. We did it first because the customers love it (Spectre), and second because in 10- or 15-years’ time many city centers might be closed to internal combustion engine cars,” he said.

Rolls-Royce has achieved record sales and profits over the past two years, even as global consumption declined during the coronavirus pandemic.

Oliver Zipse, chairman of the board of management of BMW, told Arab News that he did not see the need to consider selling shares separately in Rolls-Royce, as Volkswagen recently did with a multi-billion-euro initial public offering in its Porsche subsidiary.

He said: “What problem would I like to solve (with an IPO)? Access to capital is not our problem.”