Ghost rolls into Luxury Car Street

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 November, 2011, 12:00am


Hong Kong is known for its clusters of like-minded vendors along 'Wedding Card Street', 'Bird Street' and Lockhart Road's promenade of porcelain, to name just a few.

The newest addition is taking shape on Queen's Road East, long known for its cluster of shops selling curtains and blinds. The area around the Hopewell Centre is becoming something of a hub for car showrooms, especially luxury vehicles.

Yesterday Rolls-Royce opened its biggest showroom in the city in light of rising demand across the region for its ultra-luxury cars.

Mercedes-Benz is just a few doors down the road. And Mini is across the road from Benz. Directly next door to Rolls-Royce, British sports carmaker McLaren is opening its first showroom in Hong Kong in February.

It used to be said that there were more Rolls-Royces per head in Hong Kong than in any other city. Jenny Zheng Jinlan, the carmaker's general manager for Greater China, said that was probably still the case.

'People in Hong Kong like to order their cars custom-made and choose their own colours for the exterior and the leather and veneer interior. I think there are still more Rolls-Royces per head, or metre of road, in Hong Kong than any other city,' she said at the opening.

The carmaker moved to the 3,200 sq ft space in Wan Chai from Central's Bank of America Tower so it could showcase more of its models, Zheng said. They include the 5.6-metre Ghost Extended Wheelbase, launched locally yesterday to coincide with the showroom's opening.

It can be yours for a mere HK$5 million, including tax.

'We needed not only more space but also the ceiling height, and the location is more convenient. There were a lot of small factors in the decision to move,' Zheng said.

Rolls-Royce has showrooms in eight mainland cities and is looking to appoint more dealers so it can expand its presence. The Ghost, which is smaller than the Phantom, has been particularly popular with rich mainlanders looking to flaunt their wealth.

Zheng would not say how many mainlanders were on the waiting list but said that a buyer who ordered a highly bespoke Phantom today would be waiting until the middle of next year for delivery.

'We are having another record year,' Zheng said, and Asia was driving the growth. The BMW-owned company announced a 64 per cent increase in sales to almost 1,600 cars delivered in the first half of this year, compared with the same period last year. Asia-Pacific regional sales increased 170 per cent.

In September, Rolls-Royce said it would spend GBP10 million (HK$124 million) to expand its manufacturing plant at Goodwood in southern England to meet the growing demand.