Rolls-Royce breaks sales record
Luxury car company Rolls-Royce has revealed the highest annual sales in its 111-year history.
The Sussex-based company delivered a record 4,063 cars in 2014 - up 12% on its 2013 total and the fifth year in a row it has increased sales.
Last year's rise means sales have risen five-fold since 2009. The year of 2014 saw sales increase 13% in the UK, 40% in Europe as a whole, 30% in the USA and 20% in the Middle East.
Australian sales were up 75% in 2014, with Japan rising 60%. The best-selling Rolls' dealership was in Abu Dhabi in the Middle East.
The USA is the company's biggest market, followed by mainland China, the United Arab Emirates, the UK and Saudi Arabia.
Sales were boosted by strong orders for the Ghost Series II launched in November and the Wraith which enjoyed its first full year of sales.
Rolls has created 200 permanent jobs in the past 18 months, with more than 1,500 now working at its headquarters at Goodwood in West Sussex.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "Rolls-Royce motor cars are famous throughout the world with increasing numbers now exported abroad. The skill and dedication of its workers here in Britain has led to another very successful year.
"The UK's automotive industry is thriving with a new car rolling off the production line every 20 seconds, and increasing levels of investment that's helping to secure local jobs.
"Through our industrial strategy we are backing companies like Rolls-Royce as they go from strength to strength, giving them the right environment to invest with confidence and create high-skilled jobs."
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars chief executive Torsten Muller-Otvos said: "This fifth consecutive record year saw Rolls-Royce Motor Cars break through the 4,000 car sales level for the first time in its history.
"The result confirms that our strategy of balanced, sustainable and profitable growth is delivering and that Rolls-Royce remains the world's leading luxury goods brand."
The Rolls' figures come a day before statistics from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders are expected to reveal that total new-car sales in the UK for 2014 will have reached around 2.46 million - the best annual figure for 10 years.