Rolls-Royce sunny on sales as millionaire ranks swell

Mr Sunthornpan Dhechatech, general manager for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Bangkok with the Wraith Black Badge. (Supplied photo)

UK-based luxury carmaker Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is upbeat on its sales prospects in Thailand with the rising number of Thai millionaires.

Hal Serudin, corporate communication manager for Asia-Pacific, said Rolls-Royce's customers will be ultra high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) with assets over US$30 million.

He cited the Wealth Report by Knight Frank, which said that Thai UHNWIs grew by 8.8% to 620 people last year. Knight Frank forecast Thai UHNWIs will surge by 70% to 1,050 people by 2026.

"Thanks to Thai social-structural changes and economic growth, Rolls-Royce is witnessing Thailand's luxury car market becoming more analogous to those in Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines," said Mr Serudin.

"Although Japan is the main market in Asia-Pacific for Rolls-Royce, the attitudes of Japanese UHNWIs have completely changed since the huge tsunami in 2011, as they are now more cautious about buying luxury cars. That sentiment is not the case for an emerging market like Thailand."

Its parents company, BMW, appointed Master Group Corporation (MGC), a Thai provider of automobile services, to be the exclusive distributor for Rolls-Royce cars in March 2012.

MGC runs three Rolls-Royce outlets -- two in Bangkok and one in Phuket. MGC is also an authorised distributor for other luxury brands including BMW, Mini, Maserati and Aston Martin.

According to the Land Transport Department, there were 381 Rolls-Royce cars as of Dec 31 last year.

In 2016 alone, 18 Rolls-Royce cars were registered at the department, up from 14 the year before.

Sunthornpan Dhechatech, general manager of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Bangkok, expects local sales will surge by 50% this year, although he declined to disclose last year's sales figures.

MGC is eager to attract customers outside of Bangkok after the outlet in Phuket was opened last month.

"We think UHNWIs are not only in Bangkok but also in major provinces. MGC plans to hold test drives for potential customers throughout 2017, mainly in the South and Northeast," he said.

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