Rolls-Royce says it doesn’t view the newly reinvented positioning of Mercedes-Maybach as a direct competitor to its range of products.
Speaking to CarAdvice in Austin, Texas, the head of communication for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in North America, Gerry Spahn, said Mercedes-Maybach is more a competitor for second hand Rolls-Royce cars than a direct rival.
“The Maybach is not a direct competitor to Rolls-Royce, if you look at how we view our competition.” Spahn said.
“There may be areas where in a provenance program, whereby it’s a second owner, where a Maybach might be a competitor to a provenance Ghost. It’s a different design, different category for us. It’s a nice car, we just view as not being a direct competitor.”
According to Spahn, Rolls-Royce competes against non-automotive purchases, considering its owners don’t view the purchase of a car as a financial decision.
“Our competition is not necessarily vehicles, I can say airplanes, yachts, real estate, art, that’s where we are competing with. Our owners are putting down $20 million on a yacht. They may want to buy one or two Rolls-Royces to go along with it. Our average owner has seven cars - it's like jackets for me, for them it’s a lifestyle choice it’s not a financial one.
“There’s a really interesting review of who we really compete with. Our owners have two things in common, they are very, very rich and they are very demanding.”
Asked why the Maybach is not seen as a competitor considering it competes with the Ghost on price, Spahn said price is of little relevance in this segment.
"It’s not price. It has nothing to do with price. It’s positioning.
“Now there are people that will buy a Maybach because they want a Maybach. But our owners buy a Rolls-Royce because they want exclusivity and even though you can customise a Maybach or Bentley, the bespoke options on a Rolls-Royce to be absolutely exclusive are way beyond… It’s just a different lifestyle, that’s why there are people aspire to be in a Rolls-Royce, that’s why we have the provenance program."
The BMW-owned brand has seen unprecedented growth in the last decade coinciding with the launch of the Phantom more than a decade ago and the smaller, 7 Series-based Ghost in 2012.
In 2003, Rolls-Royce sold just 500 cars, compared with 4063 in 2014. But the brand has no intentions of keeping volume restricted if the demand is there. There’s a new Drophead coming by the middle of next year plus plans for an SUV are in the works.