Rolls-Royce looks beyond metros for growth

Written by Rachit Vats | Mumbai | Updated: Aug 25 2013, 08:18am hrs
Expecting sales to hit a low patch in its second-largest market China, luxury carmaker Rolls-Royce is turning to India for growth. And the cities in focus are not the metros, but tier-II cities like Ahmedabad and Chandigarh.

Banking on the growing ultra-high net households (HNHs) in the country, the maker of Phantom and the newly-launched Wraith feels India offers huge potential. But feeling constrained by its small dealership presence, it plans to ramp up presence in new places in India, especially non-metros.

The potential for selling more cars in India is certainly immense, Rolls-Royce general manager of emerging markets-Asia Herfried Hasenoehrl said. There is absolutely no slowdown on our expansion plans in India. In the past eight years we have set up five dealer networks in India and this will continue. We are looking at accommodating more volume and moving to new cities, he said.

With about 46% of HNHs residing in non-metros, including Pune, Aurangabad, Hyderabad and so on, Rolls-Royce is looking at having a presence in these cities, though the company has held back names of possible new entries. Our customers are unaffected by the general macro-economics. We aim to be wherever they are, said Hasenoehrl.

Since it entered India in 2005, Rolls-Royce has sold 250 cars. Compared to China, where the annual sales are about 1,000 units through about 20 dealers, the company sees India as the most important market in the Asia-Pacific region. By setting up a vast dealer network we are able to reach our true potential and we know we can do the same here. In the past nine months we have received several requests for dealerships, he said.

The company is also looking at putting together a five-year dealer expansion plan that will take Indias global sales contribution to at least 15% from the current 3%. Sources say with dealership expansion the company will be able to meet its sales target of 100 cars per year in India.