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Rolls-Royce opens showroom

People view a new Rolls-Royce at the open of the company’s first show room in Phnom Penh
People view a new Rolls-Royce at the open of the company’s first show room in Phnom Penh yesterday morning. Hong Menea

Rolls-Royce opens showroom

Rolls-Royce officially launched its showroom in Cambodia yesterday, with both government and the luxury-car maker forecasting a rosy sales outlook for the high-end vehicle.

In June, Rolls-Royce appointed HGB Group Co Ltd, the distributor for Mazda and Kia vehicles in Cambodia, to be the official dealership. The 540-square-metre showroom, located on Street 217, is housing Rolls-Royce’s Phantom, Wraith and Ghost models, with prices starting at about $650,000.

“I said last year that the situation in Cambodia has finally attracted the import of luxurious cars already due to the annual 7 per cent growth of the country economy,” said Cham Prasidh, minister of industry and handicraft, at the launch of Rolls-Royce showroom yesterday.

“And there is also a rising of middle-class family who can afford [to buy the car]. They are wealthy from business or from booming land prices, which has increased the number of wealthier people in Cambodia,” the minister said.

Prasidh said that “not less than 20” Rolls Royce vehicles had been sold since June. The minister took aim at international media for suggesting that the luxury brand was unlikely to sell in Cambodia.

“There are luxurious brand like BMW, Jaguar, Porches in Cambodia, why can’t Rolls-Royce come into join this huge market?” he said.

“International media has been reporting that there will be no Cambodian who can afford to buy a Rolls-Royce, but with this sale figure, you can see,” he added.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Temmy Wiradjaja, general manager of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Phnom Penh, said he expected the demand for Rolls-Royce to grow in Cambodia.

“As the minister mentioned, there have been some cars being delivered to this country. We are still confident in this market. It is an emerging market and we believe the number of sales will grow,” he said.

Paul Harris, regional director for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Asia, would not speculate on the exact numbers the company was hoping to sell in Cambodia, but said regional growth indicated the future was bright.

“In my opinion, from the regional perspective, in Indochina, we will see more investment coming into the area,” he said. “The more they come, the more successful entrepreneurs we will see.”

Pily Wong, vice president of the Cambodia Automotive Industry Federation, said the sale of 20 Rolls-Royce vehicles in a developing country like Cambodia was “quite surprising”, but he agreed that there was still an elite market in Cambodia for luxury car models.

“Comparatively 20 units is not a lot compared to mass-market models, but we must remember, Rolls-Royce is a very niche brand only catering the ultra-rich,” he said.

“The ultra-luxury car market in Cambodia is definitely not big. I estimate the number of rich [people] who can afford to buy Rolls Royce to be around 2,000, so potential is there,” he said. “However, most important is to be able to convince those customers to buy.”

Rolls-Royce is the latest luxury vehicle brand to enter the Kingdom’s new car market, joining BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Porsche, Land Rover and Jaguar.

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