BILL BUYS ...
... takes a light-hearted look at a sometimes crazy world of motoring - and other forms of transport - nationally, internationally, and right here in North East Victoria and the Southern Riverina
Cullinan R-R’s best friend
Words/pictures: Bill Buys
MOST vehicle makers around the world had a rather miserable 2019 trading year, but not so sections of the luxury market.
Rolls-Royce, for one, had a ball as demand for its first SUV, the Cullinan, soared by 25 per cent.
The 116-year-old British company - well, it’s owned by Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW) - just announced it sold 5152 cars in 2019, an all-time record, and up from the 4107 units sold in the previous year.
"Worldwide demand last year for our Cullinan SUV has driven this success and is expected to stabilise in 2020," chief executive officer Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes said.
Now there’s a fine Brit name for you.
The Cullinan was named after the largest diamond ever found, a 620g, 3100 carat whopper, proving that a diamond is not only a girl’s, but also a premium vehicle company’s, best friend.
The diamond was found in South Africa in 1905, the big SUV was unveiled in 2018.
Although it's not the kind of vehicle that you’d want to take on the Tanami, or some other Outback track, the Cullinan was designed from the start to be a serious off-roader.
Its 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12 engine has been re-tuned to deliver 420kW at 5000 revs and peak torque (850Nm) at just 1600rpm, and it drives all four wheels (a first for Rolls-Royce) via uprated driveshafts and all-wheel steering.
The luxury brand's strong numbers serve as a breather at a time when the global motor industry is still facing various challenges amid a broader economic slowdown that dented sales of many carmakers.
The US continued to be the biggest market for Rolls-Royce, accounting for about a third of its total sales, followed by China and Europe.
Rolls-Royce also recorded strong growth of 29 per cent across the Middle East and Africa region last year.
The company says the Middle East continues to be one of the strongest global markets for its highly bespoke vehicles.
Last year Rolls-Royce cars were sold in more than 50 countries around the world, through a global network of 135 dealerships.
And in Australia Lexus has entered its 30th anniversary year after setting an annual sales record in 2019.
The luxury lifestyle brand achieved 9612 annual sales, 585 more than the previous record set in 2016 and 9 per cent higher compared with 2018.
Top-seller was again in its SUV sector, where the brand recorded its highest full-year SUV sales of 7704 units, up 21.76 per cent on 2018.