Cars

Why Rolls-Royce is Bullish About the Philippines

Unprecedented growth of ultra high net worth individuals is a major factor.
IMAGE ROLLS-ROYCE
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If estimates hold up, there will be a 38-percent increase in the number of ultra high net worth individuals (UHNWI) in the Philippines over the next five years. That’s according to the 2019 Wealth Report of global property consultancy firm Knight Frank, which defines UHNWIs as those worth $30 million and above. 

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Granted the base number is at the low end—the Philippines is forecast to have “only” 296 UHNWIs by 2023, which is less than two percent of the ultra wealthy population of Japan (20,570).

Still, for a developing nation, that’s a significant number, especially when you consider that the regional average for Asia Pacific is only 23 percent during the same five-year period (2018-2023). That would explain why luxury brands are sitting up and taking notice.

Like Rolls-Royce. A local distributorship for the famed British marque opened in Manila in 2013, but officials continue to be bullish about the Philippines, buoyed by a relatively stable economy and growth forecasts such as the one released by Knight Frank.

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Paul Harris, Rolls Royce Asia Pacific regional director, took note of the startling growth numbers during a call with Esquire Philippines from the brand’s regional headquarters in Singapore.

“There is a great opportunity within the Philippines given its populace and estimated growth in the future, and we are of course looking to engage audiences in that UHNWI sector with our pinnacle super luxury products,” he said.

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The luxury car brand has had a stellar 2019, selling a total of 5,152 units, the highest in its 116-year history. That’s a 25 percent increase from the 4,107 cars the company sold in 2018.

“When times are tough, people turn to luxury, and when times are good, they turn to luxury, too,” Harris said. “I think we’re able to deliver these numbers by continuing to deliver fantastic customer experiences alongside top quality hand-crafted products.”

Last year’s sales numbers were no doubt helped by the introduction of Rolls-Royce’s first-ever SUV, the Cullinan. Executives said the super luxury SUV has become the fastest-selling new Rolls-Royce model in the brand’s history.

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Harris also divulged that, as far as sales of the Cullinan is concerned, about 80 percent of customers are new to the Rolls-Royce brand, with the remaining 20 percent old customers. This is significant because it shows that the revered brand made the right call when it decided to introduce an SUV to its portfolio of automobiles.

Having worked in Asia Pacific for the last 10 years, Harris said the brand’s patrons have increasingly been on the lookout for personalization with their cars, something that Rolls-Royce is, of course, well known for.

“Rolls-Royce’s main differentiator is its Bespoke service, which is simply head and shoulders above and apart from the rest,” Harris said. “Our Bespoke Collective, which consists of designers, craftspeople and engineers, are able to create nearly limitless possibilities for Bespoke personalisation on cars. This can be color, textile, shape of the car, or even stitching, almost anything that does not compromise road safety.”

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In addition to strong growth across all regions during in 2019, Rolls-Royce also posted strong sales in individual countries, such as Russia, Singapore, Japan, Australia, Qatar and Korea.

Two new dealerships opened last year Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Brisbane and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Shanghai Pudong.

Harris said the company is looking forward to more projects for 2020, including further refinements to the already world-class manufacturing facilities, equipment and processes in Goodwood, as well as a new two-storey development in the same area, due for completion in the first quarter of 2020. It’s all meant to further provide the absolute best customer experience for arguably the best automobile brand in the world today.  

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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