By Stewart Smith on 2017-01-09 - Stewart was the former motoring editor of the Coventry Telegraph and is now a freelance contributor to Eurekar. He is based in Scotland and specialises in First Drive reviews.
Rolls-Royce on a
ROLLS-ROYCE is on a roll and has just announced its second highest ever annual sales result in the marque's 113-year history, up six per cent on its 2015 results.
The luxury car maker said a total of 4,011 cars were delivered to customers in more than 50 countries including European sales which shot up by 28 per cent.
Global demand for Rolls-Royce's products was driven by the continued success of the Wraith and Ghost families, which were boosted in 2016 with the introduction of new Black Badge variants.
Another major contributor was the Dawn drophead which entered full production with the strongest pre-order book ever achieved by a new Rolls-Royce model. 2016 was also the final year of production for the seventh-generation Phantom, with its successor due in late 2018.
The Phantom retained its status as both the company's flagship product with customers eager to secure final bespoke commissions to complete their collections, and own a landmark piece of Rolls-Royce history.
The company recorded its highest-ever sales in key global markets including the Americas (up 12 per cent), Europe (up 28) and Asia Pacific (up five). A number of individual markets also exceeded previous records, notably Japan which was up 51 per cent), Germany (up 30), the UK - the marque's home market - (+26), China (+23) and the USA (+10).
The only major region where conditions remained difficult was the Middle East where demand for all luxury goods was dampened by economic and political uncertainty. However, despite the challenging market, the Middle East ended the year as the third largest market for the brand in 2016.
Growth in production facilities at the Rolls-Royce factory at Goodwood in Sussex was matched by the creation of over 100 new jobs in 2016.
The company now employs over 1,700 people, representing an increase approaching 500 percent on the original team of 350 who worked to create the first Phantom in 2003.
Rolls-Royce has also embarked on supporting future talent with a record intake on its apprenticeship programme. More than 50 young people are currently learning skilled trades at the home of Rolls-Royce, with similar recruitment levels planned for 2017.
Record numbers of graduates and interns also joined the company during 2016.
Torsten Muller-Otvos, Rolls-Royce chief executive, said: "We are deeply proud of the achievements of our historic brand over the past years. Rolls-Royce continues to surge forward in a confident and sustainable manner.
"Our business model, which is rooted in our unique and detailed understanding of the multifaceted world of luxury, is producing growth at just the right pace for a truly rare and exclusive brand. This is what our customers demand of us and this is what we will continue to deliver."
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