Russians dumping rubles for... Rolls Royces?

Rolls-Royce: Why US is now our primary market

Even as Rolls Royce hits speed bumps in China, the ultra-luxury carmaker is breaking new sales records in Russia as consumers look to diversify away from the beleaguered ruble.

"With the weak ruble, people are investing into real assets," Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO of the BMW-owned British car brand told CNBC on Tuesday. "We've seen very good business this year; Russia is at new record levels."

Russia is the automaker's third largest market in Europe and tenth globally as of end-2013.

Despite the mediocre global growth environment, Rolls-Royce is on course for a record year and poised to deliver over 4,000 cars in 2014 - the fifth consecutive record year and the highest in the marque's history. Sales are up 24.3 percent year-to-date compared to same period in 2013.

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"Growth is coming from all over the world, except China," Müller-Ötvös said, noting that Beijing's anti-corruption crackdown has dented sales in the world's largest auto market.

However, a revival of the U.S. economy has helped counter the slowdown in the mainland.

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"The U.S. is back again as our number one market. There's a lot of trust back in the economy, and people are back in showrooms," he said.

Sales growth is being driven by the Wraith, a two-door coupe version of the Ghost model introduced last year, said Müller-Ötvös, referring to the model as a "soaring success."

Outlook for 2015

Müller-Ötvös is optimistic 2015 will be an equally positive year for the carmaker.

"I would say as long as we don't see major catastrophes happen – in the Middle East, or a collapse in US growth – I'm confident about 2015," he said.

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"The world [economy] is not in terrible condition, and we've balanced our global sales quite nicely," he added.

Growth Hot Spot

Australia's economy may be slowing but Rolls Royce has identified the country as one of its hottest growth markets.

"Australia was kind of a sleeping beauty which is now awake and is good business for us," Müller-Ötvös said.

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The company has invested heavily into additional dealerships in the country, he said, where it is seeing solid demand for its wraith and Ghost Series II models.

SUV on the cards?

Addressing speculation over whether Rolls Royce will build a sports utility vehicle (SUV), Müller-Ötvös said that the company is making progress in its discussions around the matter, but noted that the final decision will likely be taken next year.

"We are moving in the right direction," he said. "I have lots of customers - I'm really customer centric - who are encouraging me to build such a car."

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