Rolls-Royce boss says Covid deaths boosted car sales: ‘People realised life is short’

By Daisy Maldonado

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars achieved record sales in 2021 as coronavirus lockdowns led to ‘a lot of money accumulated worldwide’, chief executive Torsten Muller-Otvos said (Mike Egerton/PA)

(Picture: PA Archive)

Covid-19 caused a wave of misery around the world - but one luxury business executive has boasted that it was great for business.

Rolls-Royce is celebrating the highest sales in its 117-year history, and in a slightly unsettling comment, chief executive Torsten Müller-Ötvös says the coronavirus is to thank for it.

He said the pandemic led many people to be reminded of their own mortality and in response, splurge on the fancy cars.

“Many people witnessed people in their community dying from Covid and that made them think life can be short and you’d better live now rather than postpone until a later date,” Müller-Ötvös told the Guardian.

“That has helped Rolls-Royce.”

The carmaker, which is owned by BMW, posted sales of 5,586 vehicles during the year, up 49 percent of 2020.

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Müller-Ötvös also credited travel restrictions due to the pandemic that’s forced affluent consumers to stay put, opening up the opportunity to splurge elsewhere.

“It is very much due to Covid that the entire luxury business is booming worldwide,” he said.

“People couldn’t travel a lot, they couldn’t invest a lot into luxury services...and there is quite a lot of money accumulated that is spent on luxury goods.”

Notably, a Rolls-Royce Ghost sedan has a starting price of just over $300,000.

On Twitter, many people were frustrated that Covid-19 has resulted in such a profitable outcome for the luxury brand.

“When I saw what was happening in our communities the first thing I thought was let’s go and spend £200k on a Rolls Royce! Apparently, record numbers did look at what was going on and bought a @RollsRoyce,” wrote one person.

Other people reacted sarcastically to the news.

“Why didn't all y'all tell me that the best way to get through the COVID-19 pandemic was by snagging a Roller?” one tweet read.


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