When you are a Rolls-Royce dealership, even a 20 per cent dip in the wider automotive market doesn’t seem to leave a dent.
Abu Dhabi Motors, which has the rights for Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, expects to retain its position among the Top 5 global dealers for the UK super-luxury automotive marque when the 2017 dealership delivery splits are added up. The 2017 positions should become crystal clear in the next few weeks. It placed second in the 2016 rankings. (Last year, Rolls-Royce’s overall deliveries totalled 3,362 units.)
The models Abu Dhabi Motors handed over to owners last year had an average value of Dh1.3 million, with the Wraith being the volume seller. The latest iteration of the flagship, the Phantom, made an appearance only in December and should help push up the average price by a few zeros. The starting price for a Phantom short wheelbase is Dh1.95 million.
Throw in a few elements to personalise the chosen model and that sits just as well on Abu Dhabi Motors’ numbers. The size of the bills run up by the bespoking is $25,000 on average and there is “extensive bespoking on 99 per cent of (the) total cars ordered,” said Arno Husselmann, General Manager at the dealership.
“The Phantom will have strong demand … and supply will be restricted. The top new models will face regulated supply, which will coincide with a slight calming in the economy at the start of the year.”
But the big bang for the year will be as and when the Cullinan — Rolls’ first attempt at a SUV — makes it to local showrooms. And it’s a model that had already set off a lot of anticipation and bated breaths among its intended buyers in the Gulf. And there are quite a few, though no one is going into specific numbers. Just yet.
“The Cullinan will be “a very important car for us as it fits all the needs of intended customers in our market,” said Husselmann. “We can prepare for long waiting lists as demand will outstrip supply. This limited supply will likely affect our numbers — we expect many customers will want this car and be willing to wait for it.”
The 2017 numbers notwithstanding, Abu Dhabi Motors is keeping expectations for this in check. “December was a very strong month as some customers wanted to beat the introduction of VAT, which at 5 per cent is substantially lower than other markets,” said Husselmann. “With such changes in the economy, there will most likely be challenges in 2018 indicating a tough year in the industry for most.”
In fact, as was the case for the rest of the dealerships in the UAE, it was a stronger showing in the second-half of 2017 that led to the volume gains. In fact, some of the deliveries were made in the first few days of January, due to a delay at the end of last year.
But the fact remains that the state of the wider economy had little to do with Abu Dhabi Motors’ eventual 2017 tally. “Rolls-Royce buyers will not spend their last dirham purchasing a vehicle,” the GM added. “Typically, owning a Rolls-Royce is, in most cases, an experience rather than a sole means of transportation for use on a daily basis. Though of course it is fit for that purpose as well.
“Rolls-Royce buyers are leaders in the economy, are captains of industry and owners of companies. Their purchasing choices do not usually depend on the status of the economy. These individuals, are contributing to the economy by generating employment and making impactful business decisions.”
Those special editions have a purpose
The one-off Rolls’ model versions that Abu Dhabi Motors commissions did have a good run in 2017. Each fitted out to look and feel distinctive, these included the “Manchester City Wraith” and the “Ghost Oasis”.
“Besides the exclusive editions, we order 99 per cent of our cars with bespoke exterior and interior elements to ensure customers get the most unique cars in the world,” said Arno Husselmann, General Manager at the Abu Dhabi dealership
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