New Delhi, Sept. 26: Rolls-Royce is eyeing India's new class of business tycoons as the iconic brand revs up to hit a century of sales in a year.
"Demand is strong from all over the country. There is no one state or region which has a high concentration of sales. We have a strong interest in states such as Assam, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand besides traditional markets such as Mumbai, Tamil Nadu and Calcutta," Hal Serudin, head (Asia Pacific), Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, told The Telegraph. The iconic British brand introduced its latest Rs 5-crore Phantom Series II here today.
Last year, India was among the top five markets of the company in Asia-Pacific, with about 90 handcrafted cars sold here out of a little more than 3,500 units worldwide. Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt and a 24-year-old mystery entrepreneur ' touted as the youngest buyer of the Ghost ' are among the new generation buyers to join a line of Indian princes such as the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Maharaja of Jodhpur as Rolls-Royce owners.
The identity of the owners is usually kept under wraps; Rolls-Royce did say that a typical Indian buyer had a net worth of Rs 150 crore.
Analysts said older magnates as well as newbies, who owe their fortune to the IT, mining and construction boom, are among the buyers.
With the domestic super premium car market growing at 30 per cent annually, brands such as Roll-Royce, Bugatti, Koenigsegg, Maserati, Bentley, Jaguar and Ferrari are being spotted on Indian roads.
The number of super premium cars sold in the country will jump to about 800 by 2020 from 180 last year, according to IHS Automotive.
There was a significant rise in the sales of Rolls-Royce in the last decade with the expansion of the country's millionaire club. From five cars in 2005, sales in India grew to 85-90 in 2011.
"India is a very promising market. We are very optimistic about it. In fact, of all the markets in the Asia-Pacific, India has been the most active," Serudin said.
Between 1907 and 1947, around 900 Rolls-Royce cars had made their way into India. The first car was imported in 1907, three years after the company was born in Manchester.
Last year, one of the vintage cars ' a 1925 Phantom converted into a hunting car with a machine gun and a canon mounted on it by the Maharaja of Kotah ' made headlines when it was put up for auction at a reserve price of $1 million (Rs 5.5 crore).
Rolls-Royce, which has three dealerships in Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad, will be adding two outlets shortly.
A Calcutta outlet is on the cards, but the company was tightlipped about the timing. "By the fourth quarter of 2012, we will be present in Chandigarh and there will be an addition of another city by the second quarter of 2013," said Yadur Kapur, head of Rolls-Royce in northern India.
The new Phantom II, priced upwards of Rs 4.6 crore, has an eight-speed automatic gearbox, new driver assistance technologies, satellite navigation system, and front, rear and top-view cameras.
The Bentley Mulsanne, priced at Rs 2.69 crore in India, is the main competitor of the Phantom Series II.
Last year, Rolls-Royce sold 3,538 cars worldwide, up 31 per cent from 2,711 in the previous year.
This represented the highest annual sales in the 108-year history of the Rolls-Royce, the previous best being 3,347 cars sold in 1978.