Why Rolls-Royce boss expects to be profitable despite COVID

Rolls-Royce broke its global sales record again in 2019, with a volume of 5,152 cars, but the brand’s all-time high will not be challenged this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the changeover to the new Ghost.

Despite this, CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös promises that the BMW Group subsidiary will be profitable this year. He explained why and outlined his plan to transition the 116-year-old brand to electric powertrains.

Rolls-Royce sales were down 37 percent in the first half due to the pandemic. Will you profitable this year? Yes, we will be profitable this year

MEET THE BOSS NAME: Torsten Müller-Ötvös TITLE: Rolls-Royce CEO AGE: 59 MAIN CHALLENGE: Steering the ultraluxury brand into the electric era without alienating its traditional customer base. Many of your rivals will not be.

What is your secret?

Our secret is that we are able to generate pricing at the highest levels worldwide, which is an indication of the brand’s strengths.

Secondly, we have kept the company very lean. We have just 2,000 staff at Goodwood. Thirdly, we have a process here that allows us to scale down costs while maintaining the business.

Can you provide some examples?

We transitioned the entire launch of the Ghost to a digital format, saving costs. We were also able to do digital closed-room events with our customers worldwide. It was a secretive environment, fully safeguarded IT-wise, where clients had a chance to see the car without needing to travel. It was very successful and now we are now sitting on a really lovely order bank. Last year you had record sales.

Where will you be this year?

Our business tanked because of COVID just like everybody else, but now we see positive signs from around the world. We will not be on 5,000. That’s not happening, but we planned for this because we knew we would be without the [previous-generation] Ghost after stopping production last year. Production of new Ghost started in Sept.

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