Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, a brand of Germany's BMW AG, is expected to increase its sales in the second quarter by more than double, with the potential of its Ghost model identified as a major factor, Rolls-Royce president David Archibald in North America stated on Wednesday.
Last year, the Ghost model allowed the company to reach a worldwide sales record of 2,711 units in 2010, which was 167 percent greater than the previous year.
The model was priced at $246,500, lower than the Phantom, in the United States, and around 200,000 euros to 300,000 euros in Europe. According to Archibald, the Ghost has brought a more feasible business case in more cities.
Thus, the company will increase the number of dealers it has in China, from eight to eleven, more than in any country except for the United States, which remains the biggest market of Rolls-Royce. However, Archibald disclosed that its U.S. market will soon be overtaken by its Chinese market "in the relative short term future."
In addition, he said that there will be four new Rolls-Royce dealerships in the U.S. for this year. Currently, the company has 81 dealerships around the world. According to Archibald, Rolls-Royce’s sales reflect that the ultraluxury market is becoming lucrative once again after the recent recession.
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars already creates powerful cars but the Rolls-Royce Ghost appears to be its most powerful yet. What makes it unique for this brand is that it manages to deliver power in a manner that is entirely different compared to others. The way it does this is that it has a lavish and elegant look that was intentionally designed to lower the pulse rather than increase it.
At the heart of driving the Rolls-Royce Ghost is the idea of simplicity. Despite the number of complex technologies and engineering software available, driving should be easy and as such, more enjoyable. The goal is never to confuse or even intrude. Unlike the other models from the brand that came before it, the Rolls-Royce Ghost is seen to be more driver-focused. With the driver sitting behind the wheel in a more elevated position, this gives the driver that position of authority.
Being higher also means that the driver has a clearer view of the road ahead. In addition, it was ensured that the fascia should be clear and thus have an in intuitive layout with a spacious design. The controls have been neatly sculpted, with those with important functions being highlighted with chrome accents. Meanwhile the instrument panel has a soft light that glows and that can be seen through the all too familiar black-rimmed steering wheel.
The steering wheel in turn makes use a different violin keys including an ergonomic roller-ball control. Hidden behind a veneered panel is the display for the control center, which can be easily accessed when needed. All of the other features like the telephone, communication, entertainment functions, and satellite navigation are shown here. It is controlled through a central rotary controller placed on the front center console and there are quick access buttons on its side.
Inside the Rolls-Royce Ghost, the technologies, and even the optional driver assistance systems, are known for their discretion as well as ease of operation. Once the driver is near the car, it is the optional Comfort Entry that ensures easy access with the doors getting unlocked once the key fob is in a 1.5-meter range.
Once inside, a voice control enables the driver to make a choice from its control systems menu, all without the need to use its central controller. In order to help in maneuvering the car, there are a number of cameras placed around the vehicle, each with their own purposes.
By combining the cameras on the front side, top view, and the rear, the driver can get a fish-eye’s view especially at blind junctions. It can even give ground images and has obstacle recognition and reverse path prediction, a feature helpful especially in parking. A Night Vision camera meanwhile has been placed discreetly inside the grille. Once this safety feature is activated, it works in combination with the Pedestrian Recognition system and is able to detect any object from as far away as 300 meters. Once it detects an object, it then displays this on the central screen located on the dashboard.
The control system in fact gets infrared heat images through the camera. From taking into account other factors like the direction and current speed, it categorizes the information and makes an assessment of any imminent danger. Once it does so, it then determines what action to take, should one be needed, and displays a warning to the driver. With the Head-up Display, the driver is able to get important information like navigation direction or the speed on the windscreen fronting the driver. This piece of information can only be seen by the driver and can even be customized in order to display the needed information at a position that the driver prefers.
Another system in the Rolls-Royce Ghost is the Lane Departure Warning. What this safety feature does is to alert the driver if it senses that the car has started to stray out of the current lane it is on. Once it is activated, it utilizes an integrated camera that is placed in front of its rear view mirror in order to monitor the current position of the vehicle and any road markings. The warning to the driver is made not by sound but through a subtle vibration on its steering wheel. If the driver activates the directional indicators prior and after the lane change, the wheel in fact does not vibrate.