Rolls-Royce car sales edge up to new record

Rolls-Royce Ghost
Image caption A bespoke two-tone Rolls-Royce Ghost was on display at the Geneva motor show last year

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, which is owned by BMW, has reported record car sales for the third year in a row.

Sales edged up from 3,538 cars in 2011 to 3,575 in 2012. But the 1% growth was much lower than the 31% and 150% growth rates seen in the last two years.

The company said it had expanded into new markets, including Latin America.

The luxury marque said it had faced a number of challenges in 2012 including global business uncertainty and political unrest.

In addition it is preparing for the start of production of the Phantom Series II and has begun expansion works at its Goodwood site in West Sussex.

Rolls-Royce's portfolio includes the Phantom family of cars and the Ghost model.

Sales grew by 26% in the Middle East, by 21% in mainland Europe and by 18% in Asia-Pacific.

The company said that the majority of cars - 95% of Phantoms and 73% of Ghosts - were sold with some element of bespoke personalisation.

"We had an outstanding year in spite of the challenges we faced, and Rolls-Royce now leads the ultra luxury market by some considerable margin," said chief executive Torsten Muller-Otvos.

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