Rolls-Royce aims record sales with Rs 6.95 cr Cullinan SUV launch

Chennai: Flagship luxury carmaker Rolls-Royce Motor Cars launched the brand’s first and only SUV, the Cullinan in Chennai at Rs 6.95 crore. The car will be made-to-order and will be sold in the country as a completely built unit (CBU).

With the BMW-owned British brand selling 4,107 units globally last year, a growth of 22 per cent, the brand expects further success with the Cullinan, said David Kim, regional sales manager, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Asia Pacific.

Speaking to News Today, he said, “The success (in 2018) was mainly driven by the Phantom. This year, sales looks positive with the launch of the Cullinan. It will be a record year for us.”

With global SUV sales soaring, the year 2017-18 saw a seven-fold increase in sale of such vehicles than the industry average, luxury carmakers drove in such cars into the market. Asked if the Cullinan was developed to tackle the competition, David, said, “We talked about making an SUV for a long time. It was driven by customers. Unlike other manufacturers, we talk with our customers and based on that we develop our new cars.”

The RSM said there will be no diesel engine available with a Rolls-Royce product and added that the car’s position under the Phantom was “strategic”.

David also said BMW, the parent company, played its part in the engineering process while the car itself, including the body-in-white is bespoke Rolls-Royce design.

Speaking about the Chennai market, David said, “The potential in southern India is huge for us. Chennai is the most important city in the region. We have one of our two outlets in the country here.”

Asked if the firm has plans to launch another SUV based on the smaller Ghost platform, David outright denied the proposition. He said the firm has “no plans for now”.

As per officials from the brand, the car in standard form will take three to four months to be completed, ie.; from order to delivery. However, David mentioned that the car is sold out for this year and waiting period at present is nearly 11 months.

David also said Indian customers use Rolls-Royce cars frequently and added that the Cullinan is suited to Indian road conditions and infrastructure.

Regarding reducing the average buyer age of the brand, David Kim said, “It is a plan, but it is more customer-driven. Younger customers want to drive Rolls-Royce as well. Reducing the average age of the customer is driven by customer demand rather than us devising a strategy. Customers in general are getting younger and younger for us.”

At the event, dealer principal, KUN Motor Company, Vasanthi Bhupathi and communications manager, Rolls-Royce, Rami Joudi, were also present.

Praveen Kumar S