New Delhi: Car maker Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, part of BMW AG, has said it plans to introduce the Ghost, a new global model, in India by the year-end. This comes right after the launch of marquee brands Jaguar and Land Rover by Tata Motors Ltd on Sunday.
The Ghost, which is to be unveiled formally at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, will be on display in showrooms in November or December, said Colin Kelly, regional director, Asia Pacific, at Rolls-Royce in a phone interview on Monday.
A formal launch would be followed by events designed for prospective customers only. “Our cars are made to order and so our marketing is made to order as well,” said Kelly. Bookings and deliveries for the car, which will cost nearly double than the popular Jaguar models, would commence in 2010.
In the pipeline: The Ghost, which Rolls-Royce chief executive Tom Purves has described as a Rolls which one can drive every day.
“The Ghost is a Rolls you can drive everyday,” is how chief executive Tom Purves had described the car in an interaction with Mint in May.
Indeed, the car comes at a price that is nearly half that of the company’s present offering, the Phantom. The company expects to price the car between $250,000 and $270,000 (Rs1.2-1.3 crore) before taxes and import duties, which can easily double the price. With the less expensive tag, Rolls-Royce hopes to substantially increase the number of cars it sells in India. There are at present around 40 Rolls-Royce cars in the country.
Last year, the firm sold 14 cars in India through two dealerships in New Delhi and Mumbai and it expects to sell about as many cars this year. “(Next year) we expect to sell two-three times what we sold in 2008,” Kelly said.
The Ghost should also help the firm reach 3,000 cars in global sales by 2010. Last year, it sold 1,212 cars worldwide.
According to Kelly, Indian buyers of Rolls-Royce are very similar to counterparts globally. They tend to be hard working wealthy individuals. But they differ in the amount and type of personalization they like to have in their cars. “This could be anything from the person’s initials to the company logo embroidered into the headrest of the car,” he said.
“There are no plans to expand the number of dealerships in India as of now,” he added. The company would, however, look at setting up service only facilities in cities where the number of cars warranted them. It usually waits for a city to have a dozen cars before it considers setting up such a facility.
At present, the Indian market is about one-eighth the size of the Chinese market and one-third of the Japanese market but it’s a gap that the firm believes could narrow substantially in the next few years.
A recent Capgemini-Merrill Lynch Wealth Report noted that India has about 1,000 individuals with at least $40 million in liquid assets. Rolls considers each of them potential customers.