DRIVING A NEW GENERATION
Managing Director of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Kuala Lumpur hopes to expand the brand's customer base to a younger market. The term ‘younger’, says Anas Zawawi Khalid, are individuals as young as forty.
Rolls Royce, with the huge-price tags, caters to an audience of well-heeled buyers - and often seen as an 'old man's car'.
What we are targeting with the Cullinan is the active lifestyle, social lifestyle, and family orientated as well.
However, marketers of the famed British automaker are looking at making the brand more appealing to the younger customers.
“The product needs to be appealing to the younger generation. Before we launched the Cullinan we launched the Wraith and subsequently the Black Badge, in addition to Ghost," Anas explains.
“Those have been very successful in targeting the younger segments.”
“What we are targeting with the Cullinan is the active lifestyle, social lifestyle, and family orientated as well.”
Cullinan - regarded as the world's first super-luxury all-terrain SUV - was seen as a bold move by Rolls Royce to depart from its usual strategy in an attempt to widen its appeal.
Younger buyers tend to favor a more practical and versatile vehicle, yet without compromising luxury. The brand had to keep up with the times, and adding a SUV to the model lineup appears to be a strategic move that paid off. In October, Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Muller- Otvos said response to the Cullinan had been 'overwhelming'.
"Rolls-Royce have listened to our customers. SUV, in general, is getting more and more popular. Rolls-Royce wanted to get it right and introduce a SUV," says Anas, adding that younger owners also prefer to drive their cars, rather than hiring a chauffeur.
Cullinan is available in Malaysia at RM1.8 million, pre-tax. Five years in the making, designers and engineers tweaked and laboured over the Cullinan, in order to reach 'perfection', adds Anas.
“Rolls Royce has a reputation over 150 years. I think we are quite resilient. I don’t think we have a problem staying fresh or staying ahead with all the engineering and technology that we keep on introducing on newer models.”
“We target ultra high net-worth individuals. We are quite the pioneer for that market. I think we are very much still ahead,” says Anas confidently.
Rolls-Royce appears to be on the right track - 2018 was a record-breaking year for the marque, achieving the highest annual sales with 4,011 cars delivered to customers in over 50 countries.
“The Cullinan is bespoke - a lot of the materials used in the car, and the technologies, take time to source, produce and manufacture.”
“So, I think that’s the main challenge for us, in terms of getting the product in and meeting customers expectation and delivering the car on time,” says Anas.
The marketing strategy for such a luxurious brand, adds Anas, is largely through word of mouth. "The product speaks for itself - it is superior, so customers tend to recommend it."
"Also, the product life cycle of a Rolls-Royce is quite long. The entire life cycle, for example, Phantom, is about 13 years. That’s how we keep getting more referrals and sales,” says Anas.