I was reading that Rolls-Royce had opened a showroom in the centre of Paris, in the ultra-fashionable 17th arrondissement. Present at the opening of the showroom were customers, VIP guests, celebrities and the media.
The 300 square-metre showroom provides space for three Rolls-Royce motor cars, an espresso bar and customer configuration lounge, including colour and trim samples. Can you imagine ever daring to walk into such a place? I can’t. There’s probably a requirement to prove at least seven-figure bank balance to the doorman, before you’re even allowed to browse.
But I suppose people don’t buy Rolls-Royces in the way they might be more popular and economical models. If you’re going to spend that much on a car, it’s probably a whole load more convenient for the sales executive to come to you, rather than you go to him (or her).
But just suppose you did walk into this new trendy Paris facility, or any other Rolls-Royce establishment. Adequate funds aside, I wonder what would clinch the sale. The outstanding MPG returned by the latest model? The favourable tax band? The practicality of those umbrellas, so cleverly stored in the rear-hinged back doors? The unbeatable finance deal if you sign up before the end of the month? No, I don’t suppose any of those factors would come into play.
Research from Which? Car shows that you’re in danger of forgetting all your sound reasons for purchasing, and you will simply agree to buy the car the salesman wants you to buy. So, if you DO wander onto a prestige showroom floor, just beware of the techniques that might be used to steer you away from your intended purchase towards something that may not suit you so well, but would do very nicely for the sales executive, thank you very much.
I did have a Rolls-Royce Phantom for a weekend, I have to admit. But there was never any chance I could have bought it. Probably one of those umbrellas already mentioned would have been beyond my budget. But, along with the Aston Martin DB9 that was also there, it did raise a few eyebrows on our very ordinary street.
“You’re either a car journalist or a drug dealer” said the lady opposite. I quickly did my maths and worked out that the Rolls alone was worth more than my house. Driving it was rather like driving a five-star hotel. I remember feeling so far disconnected from the usual driving experience that I might as well have been in some kind of simulator. But I didn’t enjoy it. I was far too worried about scraping something or being hit by someone else. Putting £10 worth of unleaded into it at a garage in Haslemere was quite fun, though, and I think I bought a Ginster’s pasty, too. Not a very Rolls-Royce thing to do, I suppose.
Global sales for Rolls-Royce continue to show a healthy percentage increase, with significant sales growth seen across all regions and continued strong demand for both Phantom and Ghost. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has also recently announced a £10 million expansion of the manufacturing plant at Goodwood in response to increased customer demand.
Meanwhile, on present form, I shall not be planning the luxury car purchase experience. But, if my luck changes, I shall be very careful that the car I buy is the one I want, rather than one chosen for me by some clever sales executive. People of Paris, you have been warned.