"The poor stay poor, the rich get rich. That's how it goes, and everybody knows". Leonard Cohen might as well have been writing jingle for Rolls-Royce. Because while mass-market automakers have seen plummeting sales, the quintessential luxury marque has enjoyed another year of sales improvement, building on the five years of consecutive growth the company has experienced since re-launching itself under the BMW umbrella.

Although the Phantom sedan (including the new Extended Wheelbase version), until recently the only model in the company's showroom, still accounted for half of the 1212 units sold last year, Goodwood can attribute its sales growth to the recent introductions of the Phantom Coupe and Drophead Coupe derivatives. And with the RR4 second range soon to join its Phantom stablemates, the Spirit of Ecstasy looks bound to ride the high for a while yet. Follow the jump for the full press release.

[Source: Rolls-Royce] PRESS RELEASE

ROLLS-ROYCE ACHIEVES RECORD RESULT

9 January 2009, Goodwood

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has seen its 2008 sales increase by 20 per cent. Last year the luxury car manufacturer retailed 1212 cars compared to 1010 the previous year. This marks the fifth consecutive annual sales increase since the company was launched in 2003.

There was strong demand across the Phantom range. However the continued popularity of the four-door versions was evident with the Phantom saloon and Extended Wheelbase models accounting for more than half of all sales. Continued interest in the Phantom Drophead Coupé and, in particular, the introduction of the Phantom Coupé in the summer of 2008 saw Rolls-Royce attract new buyers, boosting retails to record levels.

"This is a tremendous result and particularly gratifying considering the challenging economic environment manufacturers faced in the second half of 2008," said Tom Purves, Chief Executive Officer. "Once again much of this success lies with the highly skilled and dedicated workforce that we have at Goodwood."

North America remained the biggest single market for Rolls-Royce in 2008, accounting for 38 per cent of sales. Exceptional performances were seen in Northern Europe and in the Middle East which grew by around 95 and 48 per cent respectively. The Asia Pacific region saw continued sales growth in markets such as Australia, China, India and Singapore.

Looking ahead, preparations are now fully underway to ready the company for the introduction of a brand new model series, currently named RR4, due later this year.

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