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Thu 16 Jan 2020 02:01 PM

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Cullinan SUV driving Rolls-Royce sales in Middle East, says CEO

Minimum six-month waiting list for potential customers looking to buy SUV

Cullinan SUV driving Rolls-Royce sales in Middle East, says CEO

The success of Rolls-Royce in the Middle East region has been driven by the popularity of the SUV, the Cullinan, according to Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

The company, on Tuesday, revealed a 29 percent growth in annual sales across the Middle East and Africa region in 2019.

The strong results were helped, in part, by sales of the company’s first super-luxury 4x4.

Müller-Ötvös said: “I think, particularly the Middle Eastern market, is a very strong market for sports utilities and Culline has proven to be the recipe for success, particularly in the Middle Eastern markets. One of our clients in the Middle East told me recently, ‘Torsten, you hit the nail on the head’. We really got it right.

“We took our time to develop Cullinan and I think that was right. We listened to our clients carefully, we have extensively tested Cullinan in prototypes, particularly in the Middle Eastern region, and I think we adapted the car to exactly what customers want from us.

“That’s the reason why the Middle Eastern market is so strong with Cullinan.”

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars announced annual global sales of 5,152, the highest in the marque’s 116-year history, which is 25 percent up on 2018.

America continued to be the most dominant market, making up 30 percent of global sales, followed by China (25 percent), while the Middle East share currently stands at around 10-15 percent.

Müller-Ötvös told a media briefing that the Cullinan, launched in 2018, made up around 40 percent of sales in each territory they operate in across the world - and “slightly over” 40 percent in the Middle East region.

César Habib, regional director, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Middle East and Africa, added: “The Cullinan was made for the region. I think to say anything else would be wrong. You just have to look out to see how many SUVs are there and we came out with our SUV. A lot of customers chose to buy as a second or third car an SUV, but also we attracted a lot of new customers to the brand due to the SUV.”

Habib revealed that anyone looking to buy a Cullinan, currently retailing at around $480,000, with more expensive bespoke models, will have to be patient. He said: “I would say if you place your order now, you will be waiting a minimum of six months. It all depends on the bespoke level, if someone wants something extreme, you can wait for up to a year or even more.”

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