Why Rolls-Royce CEO is so bullish about the Philippines
|Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes, the chief executive of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, is seen at the Rolls-Royce showroom in Bonifacio Global City. Photo by Fernando Sepe Jr. for ABS-CBNnews.com|
MANILA, Philippines - Don't be surprised if you soon see some of the Philippines' top tycoons driving around in a Rolls-Royce Ghost or Wraith in the streets of Manila.
Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes, the chief executive of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said he met some of the country's tycoons during a Rolls-Royce customer dinner on Wednesday evening.
"I met in a customer dinner, 15 captains of industry here in Manila and I must say I was impressed listening to them, the expectations regarding the country here,"he said in a roundtable interview in Makati City on Thursday morning.
While he declined to talk about their customers here, Mueller-Oetvoes said, "I can tell you rest assured that somebody who attends a Rolls-Royce dinner is at least highly interested."
This keen interest in Rolls-Royce's luxury vehicles is why Mueller-Oetvoes said it was an "excellent" decision to enter the Philippine market.
The Rolls-Royce chief, who was in town for the inauguration of an interim Rolls-Royce showroom in Bonifacio Global City, is extremely confident sales in the Philippines will be sustainable in the long-term.
"For us, it is definitely an important market otherwise, we wouldn't have entered this market. I have clearly projections that business should grow here in the years to come and that the Philippines plays a substantial part in our Asian strategy," he said.
He said the Philippine economy's "extraordinary" growth was one of the reasons why they finally decided to enter the market.
|Rolls-Royce Motor Cars chief executive Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Manila president Willy Tee Ten hold a press conference in Bonifacio Global City. Photo for ABS-CBNnews.com by Fernando Sepe Jr.|
"There are very few countries in the world which can claim 7.5% growth rates. It's extraordinary... For that reason that was clearly one indicator from our side, the economic growth. I must also say, I was blown away to see so many construction going on, in particular in Manila," he said.
"When you look at projections... the Philippines would see rising amount of ultra-high net worth individuals in the next few years. So for that reason, I am not worried. The potential is around. And it's good to see that potential. They are the captains of industry, they are for me, often the main pillars of economic growth in a country," he added.
The high-end car maker, a unit of BMW AG, is also bullish about Asia. In terms of worldwide allocation of its volume, the United States is still Rolls-Royce's biggest market (around 30%), followed closely by China, Middle East and the rest of Asia.
"Asia in total is over 50% of our volume worldwide... Yes, When you go back to projections of ultra-high net worth individuals, there is also a shift that wealth would shift from the Western part of the world to the Eastern part of the world," he said.
On Wednesday, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Manila opened its showroom in Bonifacio Global City. It is only an interim facility until a new showroom is opened next year.
"Rest assured that a dealer who invests a couple of million in a new showroom for the business here, is highly confident this segment will develop nicely here over the next years to come... If our business would not be sustainable, we would never enter a market," Mueller-Oetvoes said.
Rolls-Royce does not reveal sales figures, but expects most of its sales volume to come from its Ghost model and the new Wraith model, which will be launched here in November.
"I'm also convinced the recently launched model by Wraith will be a very successful car in the Philippines. Because this car, the Wraith, is clearly meant for self-driving gentlemen. Also, the customer group I met yesterday, already had big expectations, and were also quite keen on Wraith and Ghost," Mueller-Oetvoes said.