Rolls-Royce Had Itself a Record Q1 Because the Super-Rich Are Doing Just Fine

When every car you sell costs well over $300,000, you don't have the same problems.

Rolls-Royce

Tough economic times are, like everything else, relative. Even as key players in the auto industry struggle to overcome pandemic-related challenges, others that specialize in more—ahem—high-end offerings are cruising. Lamborghini was a perfect example of that after announcing record profits in 2020, and Rolls-Royce just had its best first-quarter ever.

Year-over-year improvement was huge for Rolls, notching a 62 percent increase during the first three months this time around, in 2021. From New Year's Day to March 31, it sold 1,380 models with growth "in all markets," particularly China, North America, and Asia Pacific. Never in the luxury marque's 116 years has it seen such high demand, and that's thanks in large part to the new Ghost and Cullinan SUV. As it turns out, the craving for huge family tanks hasn't gone away for One-Percenters, either.

Rolls-Royce

When looking at the graph for Rolls-Royce sales, 2020 will now be seen as a sharp, lonely dip. This year's record surpasses the one that was set two years ago, in 2019, meaning it's returned to that up-and-to-the-right trend.

Keep in mind that profits were likely tidy as well given that models such the Cullinan typically command more than $350,000. And even the Ghost, which is technically the entry-level Rolls-Royce, can't be bought brand new for less than $320,000.

Finally, and this is probably something you could've guessed, Rolls-Royce says it's working on more "bespoke commissions" than ever before. That means more subtly green and brash purple Phantoms are on the way, probably ditching the mundane Starlight headliner for a feature that actually does something—like an ever-updating stock ticker.

Rolls-Royce remains optimistic for the rest of 2021 seeing as it already has orders expanding deep into the year's second half. While other automakers like Ford and GM (but not Toyota) fight the chip shortage, expect the crew at Goodwood to keep plugging away and counting their cash.

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