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2011 bumper year for Rolls-Royce

2011 bumper year for Rolls-Royce
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Rolls-Royce, the British-based luxury carmaker, which is owned by Germany’s BMW, has announced production rose by 31 percent last year and it sold 3,538 vehicles.

That was up from 2,711 in the previous year and was the highest-ever output in the company’s 107-year history. Its previous record of 3,347 cars was set in 1978, when Rolls Royce and Bentley were both under the same ownership.

Strongest demand was from China and the United States. Sales rose 47 percent in the Asia Pacific region, 17 percent in North America and 23 percent in the Middle East.

The company, which was purchased by BMW in 1998, recently unveiled plans to expand its factory at Goodwood in West Sussex, near London to meet strong global demand.

At the same time BMW posted record sales for 2011 and forecast that a boom in luxury cars would keep it ahead of rivals this year.

The Munich-based company said that worldwide sales of BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce cars rose 14.2 percent to 1.67 million last year as it sold more X3 sport utility vehicles, 5 Series models and MINIs.

Finance chief Friedrich Eichiner said last week he expected the global market for premium cars to grow at more than eight percent this year, more than twice as fast as the overall car market.

Volkswagen recently announced 2011 sales of luxury Bentley cars rose 37 percent to 7,003 and it recorded the brand’s second-highest sales volume ever in December.

BMW’s biggest single market is the United States, where it sells about 18 percent of its vehicles. It is followed by Germany and China, accounting for 17.8 percent and almost 14 percent, respectively. BMW said the rate of sales growth slowed to 11.9 percent in December.