Currently reading: Rolls-Royce Cullinan fuels firm's 'remarkable' growth
Huge popularity of the luxury SUV helps British firm achieve record sales in 2019

Rolls-Royce boss Torsten Müller-Ötvös says the key driver for the marque’s “remarkable” 25% sales growth in 2019 has been unprecedented demand for its rule-breaking Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV.

The Goodwood-based company posted total sales of 5125 units, its best-ever performance in 116 years. Last year, sales of the super-luxury 4x4, which was launched in 2018, accounted for around 40% of total Rolls-Royce volume: close to 2000 cars a year. That performance eclipsed a record mark set in 2018.

ller-Ötvös told Autocar that the latest expansion was “a performance of an altogether different magnitude to any previous year’s sales success” but still vowed not to forget his mission to keep the brand rare and exclusive.

According to ller-Ötvös, around 80% of Cullinan customers are new to the brand, so the vast majority of SUV sales have been incremental.

“Our success makes me especially we glad we took time to answer the critical questions around the launch of this model,” he said. “I always believed it was best to join a party when it’s in full swing.”

Rolls-Royce has now ended production of the Rolls-Royce Ghost saloon, its best-selling model of all time, after 11 years. Its replacement, built on the same flexible aluminium spaceframe as the Cullinan and second-generation Phantom, will be unveiled in the summer, and the first production examples should reach their owners by the end of the year.

ller-Ötvös wouldn’t talk much about the new saloon beyond confirming that it “employs the very latest technology” and is more contemporary in styling. But, at its heart, it doesn’t need to be different from the outgoing car, he said, because it's aimed at the same customers.

Rolls-Royce says it has no plans for the time being to launch additional models beyond the new Ghost, preferring to concentrate on “the next big challenge” of electrification. The company has previously promised a fully electrified Rolls production model before the end of the decade, although ller-Ötvös wouldn’t say whether this will be an all-new model or an electrified version of an existing car.

“No-one is beating on my door to buy an electric Rolls-Royce,” he said, “but our research shows many owners have an interest in this form of propulsion, especially in the US and China. Many own at least one electric car already.”


2020 Rolls-Royce Ghost spied testing at the Nurburgring

Future Rolls-Royce Phantom to go electric

Torsten Müller-Ötvös on the Cullinan SUV

Steve Cropley

Steve Cropley Autocar
Title: Editor-in-chief

Steve Cropley is the oldest of Autocar’s editorial team, or the most experienced if you want to be polite about it. He joined over 30 years ago, and has driven many cars and interviewed many people in half a century in the business. 

Cropley, who regards himself as the magazine’s “long stop”, has seen many changes since Autocar was a print-only affair, but claims that in such a fast moving environment he has little appetite for looking back. 

He has been surprised and delighted by the generous reception afforded the My Week In Cars podcast he makes with long suffering colleague Matt Prior, and calls it the most enjoyable part of his working week.

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AndreinaAbout 17 January 2020

This is an amazing german car

This is an amazing german car <3

pauld101 8 January 2020

Huge popularity of the luxury SUV helps British firm...

In case no one told you, it's German.

eseaton 8 January 2020

I disagree with earlier posts

I disagree with earlier posts. This is the only car that makes the Bentayga look slightly ok.

A rolling crime scene against all the laws of aesthetics.

The designer, if there was one, should be arrested.