Rolls-Royce says Luxury Car Market Growing in Asia

China will contribute half of the unit sales in Asia next year while India will account for 10% to 12%.

Rolls-Royce said on Nov. 20 that the market for its ultra-luxury cars is picking up dramatically across Asia as the effects of the global financial crisis recede. "We're fast coming out of the financial crisis and China and India look like they will lead the way out in 2010 on a feel-good factor," Rolls-Royce Asia Pacific regional chief Colin Kelly said in New Delhi.

"Japan is also expected to have a very good year in 2010. Australia is also looking extremely positive," Kelly said.

His comments came a day after the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said in its latest forecast that emerging market economies China and India were poised to accelerate while Japan's recession had "bottomed out".

Kelly was speaking on the sidelines of the unveiling of Rolls-Royce's Ghost model in India, the automaker's new lower-cost limousine, which is going to be launched here in the second quarter of next year.

The Britain-based carmaker had a bumper year in 2008 when it sold a record 2,012 cars worldwide and 200 across Asia, but has suffered this year from the global slump.

Kelly said the company initially expected Asian sales to be down 35% this year but "now we think will do better than we thought" as sales have been picking up in the past few months. Next year sales would accelerate to "over 400" cars in the region, he forecast. "We're going from strength to strength in Asia."

Sales in 2009 globally, however, "will be under 1,000," said Kelly.

China will contribute half of the unit sales for the Asia region next year while India, which is becoming an increasingly important market, will account for 10% to 12%.

Rolls-Royce said it expects a big jump in sales in India with its new Ghost model which will retail for around 25 million rupees (US$535,000) in the country compared with its Phantom which sells for 35 million rupees.Rolls-Royce, once the car of choice of the maharajas during British colonial rule, re-entered India in 2005 after a break of half a century.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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