Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in January announced a total of 3,362 cars commissioned by customers in almost 50 countries around the world in 2017, despite the discontinuation of its older flagship Phantom modeland uncertainty in the Middle East -- one of the key markets for the British car maker.
“This outstanding result, achieved even with our pinnacle product, Phantom, absent during 2017, reaffirms Rolls-Royce Motor Cars as the world’s leading luxury manufacturer," said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, the chief executive of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. "We remain committed to our stated long‑term, sustainable, successful growth strategy and this result, amidst a backdrop of global uncertainty, affirms this approach.”
New Phantom was unveiled in July, making its regional debut at the Dubai International Motor Show in November, and has a strong order book, the firm said. Full production of the new Phantom is now underway and customer deliveries commenced at the beginning of this year.
The company recorded strong sales in key global markets with the Americas retaining the top spot, around a third of the car maker's global sales. Chinese buyers flexed their financial muscle, helping the company post a 40 per cent year-on-year growth in sales in the country, while South Korea was another market where Rolls-Royce achieved record sales in 2017.
Overall, though, the firm sold fewer than in 2016, when it posted deliveries of 4,011 motor cars to customers in 2016, an increase of 6 per cent on 2015.
The Rolls-Royce dealership AGMC - the distributor for the luxury British marque in Dubai, Sharjah and the Northern Emirates and the 2016 best-selling Rolls-Royce dealership in the world - will be joined by five new dealerships the company announced in 2017. The new launches, including Atlanta, US, Hiroshima in Japan and a boutique dealership in Phuket in Thailand, will bring the global dealership network to 138 when they become operational in 2018.
Perhaps the car maker's most sought after variants are from its Bespoke unit and Rolls‑Royce continued to invest heavily in its Bespoke capabilities last year. Today, almost every motor car that leaves the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, England, is Bespoke, ie unique, and 2017 was one of the most significant years for Bespoke in the 114-year history of the brand, the company said.
Here is a snapshot of some of the memorable examples of Bespoke over the past 12 months.
Rolls-Royce Sweptail, was the realisation of one customer’s coachbuilt dream. Premiered in 2017, Sweptail is a compelling representation of true luxury, taking Bespoke coachbuilt personalisation to new heights.
This automotive equivalent of haute couture draws on the lineage of 1920s and 1930s Rolls-Royce motor cars. The unnamed client’s vision was for a coachbuilt two-seater coupé featuring a large panoramic glass roof.
Spirit of Calligraphy Ghost
A special one-off commission shown at the Dubai Motor Show in 2017, the Bespoke Spirit of Calligraphy Ghost draws its design inspiration from the ancient art of Arabic calligraphy. Words are harmoniously moulded into shapes, creating a unique effect where texts and images become one. Sir Henry Royce’s resonant words, “Take the best that exists and make it better. When it does not exist, design it”, in their Arabic form are shaped into Rolls-Royce’s flying mascot, the Spirit of Ecstasy. The calligraphy motif, created by renowned artist Khaled Al Saai, features as a silver inlay on the centre panel and as embroidery on the rear centre seat, amidst an eye-catching array of Turchese, Black and Arctic White leathers.
New Phantom and The Gallery – An Art Gallery on Wheels
New Rolls-Royce Phantom, unveiled in 2017, features The Gallery, a contemporary and luxury reinterpretation of a motor car’s dashboard and instrument panel.
An application of glass runs uninterrupted across the fascia providing what Rolls-Royce calls "an unprecedented opportunity to present artwork, within your motor car".
Dawn and Wraith at Porto Cervo
Two unique motor cars were created in honour of the 2017 Rolls-Royce Summer Studio, Porto Cervo, Sardinia. A Bespoke Dawn Drophead Coupé and a Wraith Black Badge.
Dawn adopted a nautical theme, "evoking emotions of a languid Mediterranean sojourn", said Rolls-Royce, while the Porto Cervo Wraith "playfully emulates Sardinia’s night time ambience".
Commissioned for an individual collector, the Ghost Elegance was the first Rolls-Royce to be finished in a paint infused with diamonds.
Dawn in Fuxia
In 2017, the US collector Michael Fux was presented with his tenth Bespoke model from Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. Following a visit to Pebble Beach in 2016, where he collected a cluster of eye-catching fuchsia petals, he challenged the Bespoke team at Goodwood with a commission to bring a striking new colour to Dawn. Subsequently unveiled during The Quail automotive gathering in California, the Dawn in Fuxia is reserved exclusively for Mr Fux to use. “My first Rolls was born at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance," Mr Fux told Autocar in September. "I was at the Rolls-Royce house [rented during the week of the event to entertain customers] and I saw a purple pansy. I said to them 'make me a paint in this colour', and so they did. That car [a Phantom Drophead Coupe] has 19 coats of paint.”
Dawn B50 for Hotel Byblos
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Hotel Byblos in Saint-Tropez in 2017, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars revealed the Dawn B50, commissioned by the Hotel Byblos as the automotive Jewel of Saint-Tropez.
Homage to a special Silver Dawn
Prominently displayed at the Home of Rolls-Royce is a remarkably rare 1952 Silver Dawn Drophead Coupé, one of very few ever made. It was sold new to a customer in Canada, and in 2017 a commission for a new Dawn from the same country led to an homage to this particular car in its 65th anniversary year.
Inspiration from South Korea
The Bespoke Collection for Korea, unveiled at the British Embassy in Seoul, embraced the aesthetic heritage of South Korea with a contemporary flare. The Ghost Seoul Edition "reflects colours that grace the country’s Taegukgi national flag, finished in bright Andalusian White with a twin coachline in Cobalto Blue and Mugello Red – along with a hand-painted Bespoke motif that captures the silhouette of the iconic Namsan Seoul Tower", according to Rolls-Royce.