Football might not have come home, but Rolls-Royce has.
It was in Manchester where the Hon. Charles Rolls and Sir Henry Royce established the idea for Rolls-Royce, one of Britain’s most luxurious brands, in 1904. It’s only fitting that the company chose to showcase its latest motor, the Cullinan, in the city.
“It was very important to come to Manchester,” says German born Torsten Müller-Ötvös, the CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “Our Manchester dealership is one of our most powerful dealerships here in the UK.”
In fact, the Wilmslow showroom is among the company’s top 10 performing outlets globally.
“This is not only down to football, to be quite blunt,” says Torsten. “It’s very much due to entrepreneurs. The customers I met when we inaugurated the new showroom recently were very impressive people, really very impressive.”
Here Torsten shares his thoughts on the brand’s first SUV, his love of Manchester, and why he believes the city is a “powerhouse”.
Why was it important to showcase Cullinan in Manchester?
We’ve toured the car all over the world and one important stop is Manchester. For us, the whole Manchester area is important for business. A quarter of our UK business stems from here and that will probably grow in the coming years on the back of our newly-opened showroom [in Wilmslow] and due to the fact we’re bringing Cullinan into the market.
What can you tell us about Rolls and Royce’s meeting?
They both had a plan in mind, to build the best cars in the world. The reason for that was Rolls was quite an automotive adventurer and fed-up with the quality in the market at that time. He approached Royce with the idea of building a car that was 100 per cent sustainable and capable of all sorts of endurance activities. From there the whole thing started.
What’s struck you about Manchester during your visit?
I’m impressed with what’s going on and what a powerhouse it here is and how many industries are located around Manchester and what sort of wealth is already accumulated. One of our customers I visited yesterday founded a business by himself many years ago and made quite some money out of it. It’s self-generated wealth in its best form. Nothing against footballers but our customers aren’t footballers, they’re entrepreneurs, they’ve created self-generated businesses in all different areas.
Could you see yourself living in Manchester?
I could definitely imagine myself living here. Why not, it’s lovely. Particularly in the outer areas like Knutsford and Alderley Edge. It’s a beautiful area.
Do you think the Rolls-Royce customer has changed in recent years?
It’s quite remarkable to see what’s happened to the brand over the past eight to 10 years. We brought the average age down significantly, from around 55 to 45, and it’s going down further very much on the back of cars like Wraith, the fastback coupe and Dawn, the convertible. The old image of Rolls-Royce as a chauffeur driven car is completely wrong. The majority of our drivers are all behind the wheel.
What can you tell us about the Cullinan?
This car is meant to be, for the very first time, a practical type of Rolls-Royce, one that will help the whole family tour around. It’s a fully-functional, daily, usable car. Our customers have garages like we have outfits, a car for every occasion, and all our customers have SUVs in a certain form. It needed to be practical, not just a Rolls-Royce that looks like a SUV. It had to be off-road capable, able to go everywhere and across all terrain.
Have you always been passionate about cars?
Before I was able to speak I was able to differentiate a BMW from Merc from a Volkswagen, so I was always quite a car nut. My very first car was an old Mini when I was 18. I had a couple of technical challenges but we got over it and since then my love for Mini is quite strong. I love cars. I’m attracted by the technical things but also love the design and this thing of sitting in something and going from A to B, ideally going fast from A to B, is fantastic.