Rolls-Royce; the ultra-luxury brand synonymous the world over with style, sophistication and the super-rich has just sold its 1,000th car in Abu Dhabi.
Carolyne Allmark spoke to Arno Husselmann, General Manager of Abu Dhabi Motors, exclusive retailer for Rolls-Royce in the UAE, on the marque maintains its elusive prestige today, and discusses plans for its new SUV.
Q. Congratulations on becoming the first dealership globally to reach their 1000th Rolls-Royce sold. This was a Bespoke model from the Suhail collection, which is perhaps unsurprising given that the Middle East has one of the largest Bespoke markets in terms of revenue per car. Are you forecasting 2015 to be another strong year for this personalised market?
Reaching our 1000th car sold is indeed an incredible achievement for us and we are extremely proud at being the first dealership to accomplish this.
As you mentioned, the 1000th car was from the Bespoke Suhail Collection, which in itself marked a milestone in Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ illustrious history as the first collection to extend a Bespoke theme to the Phantom, Phantom Coupé, Ghost and Wraith.
This particular Bespoke collection was inspired by the Suhail star constellation and is named after one of the brightest stars in the sky. The light of the Suhail star is believed to have inspired poets and scientists throughout the ages, most significantly Ibn al-Haitham, a 10th Century Arabic mathematician, astronomer and physicist. He was the first to realise that light enters the eye rather than leaving it, amongst other considerable achievements, and as a result, has been lauded for his contribution to science. Considered as one of the region’s most revolutionary individuals, the Suhail Collection pays homage to this historical Middle Eastern figure.
Q. You were global sales leader for Rolls-Royce in 2012 and 2013 and won Global Dealer of the Year, two years in a row. Did you continue to beat your sales targets last year? How is 2015 shaping up so far?
Building on our successes in 2012 and 2013, we were identified as the best-selling Rolls-Royce Motor Cars dealership in 2014. We achieved a 13 per cent increase in sales and were recently awarded with eight accolades at the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Regional Dealer Awards held in Dubai. These awards include Best Selling Dealer 2014, Best Bespoke Dealer 2014, Best Performing Provenance Dealer 2014, and Aftersales Dealer of the Year 2014, as well as an award of Excellence in Sales, and two awards for Excellence in Aftersales for our valued staff members.
We can attribute our continuous success not only to the high-calibre vehicles offered by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, but also to the level of unrivalled customer service provided by Abu Dhabi Motors. We also have to pay tribute to our discerning clientele, whose passion for automotive excellence, and love for the Rolls-Royce brand propels our continued growth to new levels each year.
We continuously strive for excellence in every aspect of the brand, so we are certain that 2015 will undoubtedly be another successful year for us.
Q. What sets Abu Dhabi Motors apart from its competition?
As Rolls-Royce Motor Cars does not operate in the mass luxury segment, but the ultra-luxury segment – it does not compete with other automotive brands. Due to the craftsmanship, excellent customer relationships and breadth of individualisation available, the marque competes alongside bespoke yachts, private jets and commissioned pieces of art, which share the same synergy for truly extraordinary luxury experiences.
What differentiates us is our clear understanding of customer requirements. We put in the extra effort to reward customers with a truly bespoke experience. Our products are unique and exclusive, our services are the best and our staff daily delivers ‘Service Excellence’ to demanding clientele. Customers are the purpose of our business and we take pride in creating customer delight with the product and our unmatched service standards, which is why we are number 1 and the most successful Rolls-Royce Dealer globally.
Q. You have been quoted as saying that customer satisfaction is the foundation of Abu Dhabi Motors’ enduring success. How do you measure that success?
Customer satisfaction is at the heart of what we do in Abu Dhabi Motors, particularly when it comes to the ultra-luxury marque Rolls-Royce.
When buying a Rolls-Royce, customers are not just purchasing the pinnacle of automotive luxury, they are investing in a timeless vehicle. The level of service provided here at Abu Dhabi Motors resonates with the sophistication and excellence of the brand in every aspect, making the journey of purchasing a Rolls-Royce as effortless as possible. As a result of this, we generate many loyal customers who refer us on to their family and close friends. This partially contributes to our continuous growth in sales, ensuring Abu Dhabi Motors stands out in the ultra-luxury marques regional and global network.
Q. Individual tailoring for the Bespoke collections is currently carried out at Rolls-Royce in the UK before the vehicles are delivered to you in Abu Dhabi. Any plans for this aspect of design to be done in the Middle East instead given its obvious popularity here?
All Rolls-Royce vehicles are crafted at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, in the UK. As you may already know, Rolls-Royce cars are predominantly hand-made and at Goodwood there is a selection of master craftspeople with a unique blend of skills that simply doesn’t exist anywhere else.
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars have hired people from the yachting industry with very specialist woodworking skills and craftspeople from the saddle-making industry for their leatherworking skills. They also have specialists from all walks of life, ranging from fabric and clothes design to metalworking, all working together to craft the unique Rolls-Royce Motor Cars masterpieces. The quality control is impeccable and our discerning customers will most likely only accept a product made by Rolls-Royce in Goodwood. This will not change.
Q. Rolls-Royce recently announced the addition of a Sports Utility Vehicle to its line-up of models. This is arguably quite a departure for this particular manufacturer – how do you think it may affect the brand image? Any early signs of interest from your customers?
It is a well-known fact that Sports Utility Vehicles are very popular in this part of the world. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars recently confirmed that it will be designing an ‘all-terrain’ vehicle. This new model will deliver presence, elegance and purpose wherever its owners choose to be in the world.
I believe that this vehicle will resonate well with the taste of the discerning Rolls-Royce customers in this region and we have received an overwhelmingly positive response from our clientele since the announcement. We have been requesting such a product for several years, and knowing Rolls-Royce, they will get it right and the product will be a huge success.