Rolls-Royce CEO hints at SUV in 2015 as sales accelerate

Rolls-Royce sold over 4,000 cars for the first time in its 111-year history last year, as its CEO told CNBC it would decide whether to release an SUV this year.

The BMW-owned carmaker, known for its iconic Phantom model, posted its fifth consecutive year of record sales on Tuesday, having delivered 4,063 cars to customers in 2014 -- a rise of 12 percent from the year before.

Sales in Europe grew 40 percent, while North America and the Middle East saw a 30 percent and 20 percent rise in sales respectively. Sales were driven by the Ghost Series II, which was launched in November, the Wraith, and the British company's flagship Phantom model.

And while the sales of its classic models continue to thrive, the boss of the car manufacturer told CNBC that the company was still decided whether to release an SUV.

"We are progressing with that project…but we haven't made for good reasons the final decision -- that will come this year, so watch that space," Torsten Muller-Otvos, CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said.

The move would mark a departure for Rolls-Royce, which is known for its saloon models, but Muller-Otvos said he was not concerned that an SUV would drive away diehard fans.

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"I'm not so much worried about that because many of our customers are already starting to ask me about that particular car," he said.


Rolls-Royce also said that a record number of customers looking for "significant bespoke personalization". In 2014, every Phantom, and a "great majority" of Wraith and Ghost models from its Goodwood, U.K.-based headquarters had unique features.

While the luxury carmaker's sales have quadrupled since 2009, Muller-Otvos said he was not looking to substantially increase volume as this could risk the exclusivity of the brand.

"My target is not on the volume side…it is very much…profit and that's exactly how you need to steer a high-end luxury brand," he said.

"Our customers don't like to see their cars at every single street corner. But of course, there is some room to grow over the next years."