Rolls-Royce Motor Cars enjoyed a highly successful year in 2023, with strong sales and demand for its products in markets worldwide, and Bespoke commissions at record levels.
- Rolls-Royce Motor Cars reports a highly successful year in 2023 with strong business performance and Bespoke commissions at record levels
- Secure platform for further growth and development as the marque enters its 120th year: Charles Rolls and Henry Royce met for the first time on 4 May 1904
- More motor cars sold than ever before in marque’s 119-year history: 6,032 delivered to clients around the world, all including elements of Bespoke personalisation
- Global sales present a balanced picture, led by North America and China
- Year-on-year growth reported in regions including Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Europe
- Company’s positive economic impact grew further with the creation of 180 new jobs at the Home of Rolls-Royce in 2023
- New investment announced to increase capabilities for electric vehicle production, Bespoke commissions and future growth in Coachbuild activities. Planning application for extension at Goodwood site submitted in late summer 2023
A WORLD-CLASS BUSINESS
Rolls-Royce enjoyed a highly successful year in 2023, with strong sales and demand for its products in markets worldwide.
Every motor car hand-built at the Home of Rolls-Royce includes some element of Bespoke, the company’s unique programme offering personalisation possibilities which are limited only by the client’s imagination. In 2023, Bespoke commissions reached new record levels by both value and number; the technical innovations required to deliver specific projects saw Rolls-Royce file a number of new patents during the year. In 2023, more Rolls-Royce motor cars were delivered to clients around the world than in any other year in the marque’s 119-year history.
To mark 20 years of production at Goodwood, Rolls-Royce commissioned an independent study into the marque’s economic impact, which calculated its total contribution to the UK economy at over £4 billion since 2003, and now over £500 million annually. The company created 180 new jobs at its Global Centre of Luxury Manufacturing Excellence in 2023, while more than 130 people joined the company’s Future Talent programme in Apprenticeship, Internship or Graduate Placement positions.
The marque also announced plans for significant new investment to modernise and upgrade its manufacturing facilities to enhance its Bespoke and Coachbuild capabilities and support production of its future all-electric product portfolio.
In 2023, Rolls-Royce further enhanced its industry-leading experiential luxury capabilities – a significant growth area within the luxury sector. The marque’s successful and celebrated global Private Office network, which offers clients a highly personalised commissioning and ownership experience, expanded to Shanghai in 2023. This unique programme, which began with Private Office Dubai in July 2022 – the first Private Office outside the company’s home at Goodwood, UK – offers clients direct access to Rolls-Royce’s own designers and engineers. The impact of these new international Private Offices has already been significant, with a marked increase in the number and complexity of Bespoke commissions. This programme will be extended with two new international locations in 2024.
In addition to this, the marque’s Whispers app witnessed significant increases in engagement. Reserved exclusively for Goodwood-era Rolls-Royce clients, the digital members’ club enables users to benefit from exclusive products and experiences selected from the marque’s wider network within the luxury industry, further establishing the brand as a focal point within the lives of owners.
“2023 was another extraordinary year for Rolls-Royce, with strong sales performances in all regions and across the full product portfolio. It’s especially encouraging to see the enormous interest in and demand for Spectre, supporting the decision to adopt a bold, ‘all-electric’ strategy for future model development and production. The record level of Bespoke commissions, both by volume and value, also underlines our position within the luxury sector, offering our clients opportunities for self-expression and personalisation they cannot find anywhere else.
“As incoming CEO, I’m in the extremely fortunate position of taking over responsibility for a business in robust good health, with strong foundations and a clear strategy for growth and development, formidable technical capabilities and a focused, dedicated team. I’m looking forward to working with the entire Rolls-Royce team to maintain this momentum and take this great company forward with confidence and conviction.”
Chris Brownridge, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars
BESPOKE: FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH
Rolls-Royce Bespoke offers every client the opportunity to express their personality through their motor car – an unparalleled experience that was enjoyed by all clients in 2023. It is this possibility to personalise any and every aspect of their motor car, in partnership with design and engineering specialists at the Home of Rolls-Royce, that is driving demand for Rolls-Royce products among its patrons worldwide. In 2023, Bespoke commissions reached new record levels by both number and value, with many of the most creatively ambitious and technically challenging originating in the Middle East.
Bespoke projects completed in 2023 included many ‘firsts’ for the marque that were also technical innovations. These included the scent-release mechanism concealed in the headrests of Phantom Syntopia, which incorporated technology originally developed for medical applications, while many Bespoke paint finishes achieved in 2023 required entirely new materials, techniques and formulations to achieve.
The year’s commissions also created new opportunities in the use of rare and beautiful materials and intricate craft techniques. These included: exquisite mother-of-pearl inlays for ‘The Pearl Cullinan’; hand-perforated leather seats for Black Badge Cullinan Blue Shadow; Starlight Headliners incorporating mesmerising celestial animations for Black Badge Ghost Ékleipsis; and exquisite hand-painted Gallery artworks for Phantom ‘Inspired by Cinque Terre’.
A more comprehensive selection of the year’s Bespoke highlights can be viewed here.
A LANDMARK YEAR FOR COACHBUILD
Bespoke finds its ultimate expression in Coachbuild, an exacting, highly collaborative process in which Rolls-Royce and the client co-create every detail of the motor car, including its physical form. In 2023, the marque unveiled Droptail, the first true two-seater roadster to be built by Rolls-Royce in more than half a century. Only four examples of Droptail will ever be built and each highly individual, deeply personal commission redraws the boundaries for materials, craft techniques, technical innovations, and creativity, not just for the automotive sector but the wider luxury industry.
ANNUAL GLOBAL SALES RESULTS 2023
In total, across more than 50 countries worldwide, Rolls-Royce delivered 6,032 motor cars to clients – more than ever before in the marque’s 119-year history.
While the first half of the year marked the end of production for Rolls-Royce Wraith and Dawn as planned, the fourth quarter of the year saw the first deliveries of Rolls-Royce Spectre, laying a foundation for a bold electric future in which the marque plans to produce only fully-electric cars by the end of 2030.
This strong sales performance should be seen in the context of Rolls-Royce’s fundamental, consistently stated position that it is not and never will be a volume-driven business. As a luxury house, its goal is to meet and exceed its clients’ expectations by building not just ‘the best car in the world’, but the car that best represents them and their personality. The global demand for Rolls-Royce products and ownership experience reflects the technical excellence, creative flair and meticulous attention to detail the company brings to this process, and which clients can find nowhere else.
GLOBAL & REGIONAL SALES
Rolls-Royce reports sales growth in the majority of the markets in which it operates, with deliveries reaching new record levels in the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Europe regions.
The USA was Rolls-Royce’s single largest market worldwide, while Greater China reaffirmed its status as the marque’s second-largest market. Record sales were achieved in Europe, where the UK is the largest single market. Supported by the Private Office Dubai, the Middle East maintained its position as the leading source of highly elaborate and technically demanding Bespoke commissions. Record annual sales and year-on-year growth in the Asia-Pacific region were fuelled by a strong performance in Korea, whose dynamic, vibrant economy is reflected in a rapidly expanding luxury market.
CULLINAN LEADS THE WAY, WITH STRONG SALES FOR ALL MODELS
As in 2022, Cullinan was the most requested Rolls-Royce model worldwide, followed by Ghost. Phantom continues to reign supreme as the marque’s pinnacle product.
As planned, in 2023 Rolls-Royce ceased production of Wraith (introduced in 2013) and Dawn (2015). With Wraith’s departure from the portfolio, Rolls-Royce has now made its last-ever V12 coupé, an historic moment commemorated in the imposing Black Badge Wraith Black Arrow Collection. Released in March and restricted to just 12 examples, the Bespoke artistry seen within these historic models was inspired by the world land speed records set in 1938 on Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats by Captain George Eyston in Thunderbolt, a seven-tonne, eight-wheeled leviathan powered by two Rolls-Royce ‘R’ V12 aero engines.
Rolls-Royce unveiled Spectre to the world in October 2022, with production starting in late summer 2023 and the first cars delivered to clients in the autumn. The first all-electric series Rolls-Royce in history has attracted enormous interest worldwide, particularly among younger clients, setting a clear direction of travel and establishing a solid foundation for the marque’s bold electric future.
In 2023, Rolls-Royce marked the first 20 years of production at Goodwood by commissioning an independent study into the economic impact the company achieves. Conducted by a team from the London School of Economics (LSE) the study calculated Rolls-Royce’s total contribution to the UK economy at over £4 billion since 2003, and now more than £500 million annually.
Around a fifth of that contribution is made directly in Chichester and West Sussex, through local supply chains and employment of its local workforce. There are now over 2,500 people working at the Home of Rolls-Royce, Goodwood; 180 new jobs were created during 2023 alone.
One of the largest employers in the Chichester area, Rolls-Royce continues to invest in its people through extensive ongoing training programmes and its Future Talent programme. Established in 2006, this programme supports more than 100 Apprenticeships, Graduate Placements and paid Internships every year, ensuring the marque’s talent pool is always able to service ongoing product and Bespoke demand. In 2023, the company welcomed 27 Apprentices, who will spend between two and four years learning specialist craft skills alongside experienced colleagues, while studying for nationally recognised vocational qualifications. The new cohort also includes Degree Apprentices, who will complete their undergraduate studies at the nearby University of Chichester.
BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE
In 2023, Rolls-Royce submitted plans for a major new investment to modernise and upgrade its manufacturing facilities. The plans will enhance and extend the marque’s Bespoke and Coachbuild capabilities as well as support production of its future all-electric product portfolio. This significant investment represents the single largest injection of new capital at the Home of Rolls-Royce since the site opened in 2003. This reflects the scale of the transformation in the company’s size, activities, commercial success and global influence in the intervening two decades.
While over this time the existing plant has seen significant changes internally – most notably going from two production lines to one – the building itself is essentially the same as it was on day one. Then, it employed around 300 people and produced just one motor car a day.
Following extensive consultation with local residents, in late summer 2023 the company submitted a formal planning application for an extension to the Home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood on land immediately adjacent to its existing 42-acre site. The plans take account of the site’s unique location, on the south-west corner of the historic Goodwood Estate and close to the South Downs National Park boundary. Like the original building, the new extension will be highly sustainable, and largely invisible at ground level beyond the site. Around one-third of the new site will be landscaped, reflecting the company’s ongoing commitment to supporting local wildlife and biodiversity.