Jan. 10 - Rolls-Royce Motor Cars CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes welcomed the brand's record car sales in 2012. Demand for its luxury vehicles held up among wealthy Americans and Chinese, even though the growth rate slowed significantly. Joanna Partridge reports.
He's the German at the head of an iconic British brand. Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes is CEO of Rolls-Royce, owned by German carmaker BMW. He's overseen record 2012 sales. And was keen to show off the luxury brand's top model - by being interviewed in it. Most of the cars sold by the firm now have some element of bespoke personalisation. But some requests are turned down. SOUNDBITE: Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes, CEO of Rolls-Royce, saying (English): "We say no to things which would affect safety, if somebody would ask me get out of the airbags, put in some more let's say storage cases here, then I would need to tell him it is not possible because it would affect his personal security and safety, and we are not doing that." It was the company's third consecutive year of record sales, as demand held up among wealthy Americans and Chinese. Sales of the luxury vehicles grew significantly more slowly than in the past two years, but Mueller-Oetvoes is not too concerned about China slowing. SOUNDBITE: Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes, CEO of Rolls-Royce, saying (English): "What we have seen in the beginning of last year is we have seen a slowdown yes, but you must also see that we have in the years 2010 and also 2011, tremendous growth in the market, I would even say explosive growth. And it was clear that we would not see that continuing year by year by year." The luxury car market has been largely unaffected by the economic downturn. While mass market carmakers are cutting capacity and shedding jobs. Rolls-Royce keep breaking records, and are due to introduce a new two-door Ghost model this year, as well as completing the expansion of their plant in southern England.