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Rolls-Royce Racked Up Record Sales in 2021

Gad Bitton of the Holand Automotive Group in Montreal, with a Rolls-Royce Ghost | Photo: M.Crépault
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Derek Boshouwers
Luxury automakers generally survived a difficult year quite well; some thrived

British luxury automaker Rolls-Royce announced its 2021 sales figures this week, and like Bentley did last week, it was happy to report a banner year, this in spite of some real headwinds like the ongoing chip shortage and other issues generally connected from the in-no-way-behind-us pandemic.

Indeed, Rolls-Royce, now a subsidiary of German auto giant BMW, sold more vehicles in 2021 than it had in any previous year in its long, 117-year history. Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös said the automaker sold 5,586 vehicles in all, in 50 different countries. That total represents a 49 percent increase in relation to 2020, and it meant the company’s biggest challenge was producing enough of its vehicles to meet demand from well-heeled customers:

“In the luxury sector as a whole, the struggle was not so much focused on attempting to find customers, but rather producing enough product to satisfy huge customer demand.”

- Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös

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Rolls-Royce Cullinan
Rolls-Royce Cullinan | Photo: Rolls-Royce

As they have with most luxury automakers in recent years, China and the United States led the growth in sales volume. These are two hugh markets so that is not all that surprising, but CEO Müller-Ötvös added an insight that connects the phenomenon to Covid-19. With travel severely restricted at times around the world last year, many folks with money to spend could not spend it on travel, meaning “there is quite a lot of wealth accumulated and that is spent on luxury goods," Müller-Ötvös told Reuters. “We profited from that development.”

Those ready to splurge on a Rolls right now should not, however, expect to get theirs delivered any time soon. The company says its plant in Goodwood in the UK is currently operating at close to capacity, and its orders books are full deep into the third quarter of 2022. Müller-Ötvös warned buyers, “If you order a Rolls-Royce today, you will expect to take delivery of it about a year from now.”

In addition to Bentley, Rolls-Royce’s parent company BMW also registered record sales in 2022, moving over 2.2 million BMW-badged vehicles during the year, surpassing its previous record total achieved in 2019, pre-pandemic and pre-chip shortage.

Derek Boshouwers
Derek Boshouwers
Automotive expert
  • Over 5 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 50 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 30 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists