Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW)’s Rolls- Royce plans to unveil a new car in the next couple of weeks to help extend record sales, the ultra-luxury automobile brand’s chief executive officer said.
The “stunning” vehicle will also be shown at the automotive show in Shanghai this year, Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes said in a telephone interview out of Dubai yesterday. He declined to provide details of the car.
The maker of the $246,500 Ghost sedan is counting on the new car to help build on the record number of vehicles Rolls- Royce sold in 2012. Mueller-Oetvoes said he’s “cautiously optimistic” about the 108-year-old company, which competes against Volkswagen AG (VOW)’s Bentley, in 2013 as demand in the U.S. and China help make up for the slump in southern Europe.
Though the U.S. became Rolls-Royce’s biggest market last year, Mueller-Oetvoes said China may regain the lead in 2013. The company opened its 15th dealership in Asia’s biggest economy on Jan. 11 and is discussing further expansion of the sales network in the country, which accounts for about a third of its global sales, he said.
Mueller-Oetvoes said Rolls-Royce’s expansion will focus more on the western regions of China, where car ownership levels trail those of coastal areas such as Beijing and Shanghai.
“I think the potential in China is yet explored,” said Mueller-Oetvoes. “ I will not be surprised for China to be back to No. 1 this year.”
On Europe, Mueller-Oetvoes said he’s concerned the region will extend its slump this year, though demand in markets such as China and the U.S. will probably compensate for the shortfall, he said.
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