The slowdown in economic growth has made mainland consumers more cautious when buying luxury cars, Rolls-Royce says.
That is despite the fact that up to 40 per cent of the pre-orders for its latest model in Hong Kong and Macau came from mainlanders.
"It's tougher, no doubt," Paul Harris, the regional director of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Asia Pacific, said in Hong Kong yesterday.
"Definitely there is a delay in making a decision. It's not an instant must-have, a must have it now. People are careful."
Harris was speaking at the launch of the Phantom Series II. It was unveiled in Geneva in March and is already on sale on the mainland.
The new cars, which have a more modern front end with restyled bumpers, full-LED headlamps and a new satellite navigation system, are priced from HK$9.9 million each.
Rolls-Royce Phantom Series II debuts in Hong Kong, video by Helene Franchineau
Samuel Sun Chung-tak, the general manager of Goodwood Motors, the brand's authorised dealer in Hong Kong and Macau, said it had received 15 pre-orders for the new vehicle.
Five or six of these customers were mainlanders who needed to travel to Hong Kong often, a similar number were corporate clients, and the rest Hongkongers, Sun said.
He expects more than 30 cars from this series to be sold, similar to the sales of last year's model.
Sun said the cooling of the economy might have slightly hit buyer enthusiasm, but there had been no huge impact on the luxury car market in Hong Kong yet.
"Buyers of these cars are wealthy, and some are mainlanders who want to replace their old cars," he said, pointing out that sales of cars so far this year were similar to those in the corresponding period a year ago.
Last year, Rolls-Royce sold about 70 cars in Hong Kong, Sun said. The carmaker delivered 3,538 cars to customers worldwide last year, up 31 per cent from 2,711 in 2010.
Harris said the mainland market remained robust and the slowdown in economic growth had not had a significant impact on Rolls-Royce. He said the carmaker would offset the slight softening in sales in the main cities by diversifying to others.
"Qingdao we went into early in the year. We are going to go into Nanning and Nanjing," Harris said.