"Our customers are fanatics when it comes to high-end quality and materials" – Rolls-Royce Motor Cars CEO, Torsten Müller-Ötvös
From automaker to luxury maison
After establishing the brand as the undisputed king of automotive luxury, Rolls-Royce is now evolving, from a mere auto manufacturer to a holistic lifestyle brand. While Rolls-Royce will always be anchored to its iconic cars, the brand has now dipped into various avenues, from fashion to art and gastronomy, becoming the ultimate luxury hub. However today, more than ever, as the identity of the signature RR slightly shifts, the responsibility of the brand's progression lay on their CEO, Torsten Müller-Ötvös. Here, Buro 24/7 Middle East speaks to the visionary chief...
Given the current horizon, where oil prices rise and the economy dives, how is Rolls-Royce doing?
Rolls-Royce is in good shape. Globally, we have quadrupled our sales over the last six years, which is remarkable. We've introduced new products and rejuvenated the brand, bringing the average age down by over 10 years. We're also now addressing people who are very much self-drivers so Rolls-Royce is no longer just a chauffeur car company.
Is the change in demographic an intentional strategy?
Wealth today is no longer inherited but very much self-generated by the younger generation. This is the new generation of the high net-worth individuals and they are forecasted to grow over the next couple of years. For that reason, Rolls-Royce needed to target the younger customers otherwise the brand might die, sooner or later.
Does the change of demographic heavily impact the image of Rolls-Royce vehicles as a more stately and distinguished car?
I would say it's a very positive change and it has been a successful change. We have not changed our price position and Rolls-Royce has stayed as exclusive as it had always been. We want to limit ourselves. That's not only important to us but also to our customers.
What part of the Rolls-Royce DNA will never ever be compromised with change?
Our customers are fanatics when it comes to high-end quality and materials. The bespoke element will also never change, which is a fundamental part of our business. This gives every customer a chance to really buy and build their very own unique and one-of-a-kind Rolls-Royce.
The brand is now becoming a holistic lifestyle concept, with a heavy imprint now on the fashion and arts industries. How has that changed the perception of the brand?
You need to do something different particularly when it comes to high-end luxury customers. We call it experiential, which I think you have to be today. Take for example our art program, which we have developed over the last couple of years; it is very special because it gives you direct contact with the artisan and affords a close conversation with the artists themselves.
Would you say then that customer feedback is one of the most important elements in driving the brand forward?
Absolutely! I would say it is the only one. When it comes to our products, what they look like, how our services operate, then it's all based on customer feedback and not on what I call normal market research.
Finally, what can people expect when they visit the world's first Rolls-Royce Boutique in Dubai?
Expect to experience the brand in a different way than what a normal showroom could offer. Here you can sit privately to customise your cars or simply browse through the world of Rolls-Royce.
Now, read about the new Rolls-Royce Boutique in Dubai, at City Walk 2.