China now largest market for Rolls-Royce

Updated: 2012-01-10 22:15

By Zhang Haizhou (

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LONDON – China has overtaken the US for the first time to become Rolls-Royce’s largest market in 2011, the company announced on Monday.

Rolls-Royce, one of the UK’s most prestigious brands, sold 3,538 luxury cars in 2011 – the highest in its 107-year history, eclipsing the previous record set in 1978 when 3,347 cars were sold.

Sales in the Asia-Pacific region grew 47 percent in 2011 while business in Britain rose by 30 per cent.

“China and the US were the most significant individual markets for Rolls-Royce,” the company announcement goes.

In China, “Beijing is our strongest selling point,” told Andrew Ball, communications manager of Rolls-Royce, but he declined to unveil how many cars the company sold in China in 2011.

Rolls-Royce’s announcement came as the UK economy is at a critical stage amid looming fear for a double-dip recession.

“We had an outstanding year in 2011 and we should take a moment to reflect on this Great British success story,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, chief executive of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

“Our business is in excellent shape. We are developing our dealer network, moving into new markets like South America, expanding our manufacturing operation in West Sussex to meet global demand and plan to develop our product range.”

Rolls-Royce, which is based in Goodwood, West Sussex, but owned by Germany’s BMW, said sales were driven by booming demand for the Phantom and the £165,000 Ghost.

The company said the outstanding performance was a “Great British success story”.