CSQ You’ve mentioned that the company’s five-year growth can be attributed to “pinnacle products, dedicated people, and a commitment to ensuring a balanced global sales picture.” What has the company done under your leadership to achieve these standards?
Torsten Müller-Ötvös Our goal is always to build one less car than we can sell. A super-luxury brand must maintain a balance between prestige and proliferation; we do not push volume and have no desire to become a mass luxury manufacturer. Rolls-Royce will and must remain exceptional and exclusive, and this is what our customers expect; no Rolls-Royce on every street corner. With the launch of Ghost in 2009 and Wraith in 2013, we’ve responded to the evolution of our owners and their demands.
CSQ The company’s most significant individual market is the American market. How does this affect your efforts to market and sell globally?
TMO Two things our owners have in common is that they are all exceptionally successful and they are exceptionally demanding, regardless of where they are from. Our American customers do bring one perspective to our owner family, however; they recognize and covet the authentic Rolls-Royce blend of the highest quality engineering with exquisite hand craftsmanship. From the launch of the ‘new’ Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in 2003, the North American market has been very important, and in 2014 it helped drive our global growth with an increase of 30 percent. At the same time, we have a balanced portfolio, selling our motor cars in over 40 countries worldwide through a network of 127 dealers. Our global owners drive the brand with their common exceptionalism combined with their diverse backgrounds.
CSQ Would you ever consider designing something other than a motor car—say a superyacht or airplane?
TMO That is an intriguing question we regularly wrestle with. While our craftsmen are the best in the world with their materials for motor cars, we would never say never in the face of exciting opportunities to extend our competencies in luxury craftsmanship and technology. If the opportunity arose to transfer the skills of our metal workers, wood workers, and technicians, we would consider it on a case-by-case basis.