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[Herald Interview] Rolls-Royce’s 1st EV Spectre to make Asia debut in Korea

Rolls-Royce is not in the automotive business, it’s in the luxury industry: CEO

March 23, 2023 - 18:27 By Kan Hyeong-woo
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos (Rolls-Royce Korea)

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars will present the Spectre -- the British high-end carmaker’s first and much-anticipated electric vehicle -- in Korea in June for the first time in Asia, according to CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos.

“Korea is one of the fastest-growing markets for us worldwide. We decided that Spectre will be first shown here in Korea for Asia,” said Muller-Otvos in an interview with the Korea Automobile Journalists Association in Seoul on Wednesday.

According to the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association, Rolls-Royce sold a record-high 234 cars here last year to maintain the growing trend in the country. Rolls-Royce said the Seoul dealer has become its 5th-largest dealer in the world.

Korea has recorded the highest number of pre-orders for the Spectre in the Asia-Pacific region, the carmaker said without disclosing the exact figure.

Asked about how Rolls-Royce plans to compete in the Korean EV market, the CEO underscored the identity of the premium brand.

“We are not in the automotive business. Rolls-Royce is in the luxury business. So honestly, we are not overly interested in how competitive the automotive market is,” he said.

Although Rolls-Royce set out the goal of going 100-percent EV in 2030 with the Spectre leading the charge, Muller-Otvos emphasized that the prestige carmaker will not budge anything in regard to the quality of the brand.

“It’s very important to understand that the Spectre is a Rolls-Royce first and an electric car second. So whatever you touch, feel, experience and smell with all of your senses in this car is truly Rolls-Royce,” he said.

According to Rolls-Royce, the company currently has been working with the BMW Group for developing battery technology, which gets batteries for electric vehicles from Korea’s Samsung SDI and China’s CATL. The carmaker did not specify which company’s battery the Spectre will be equipped with.

Noting that the average age of Rolls-Royce customers now stands at 42 years old, much younger than the average of 56 years old 13 years ago, Muller-Otvos pointed out that Korean customers especially are younger.

The CEO said there will be Roll-Royce vehicles with bolder colors and characteristics for Korean customers, following the fashion of the recently released Korea-exclusive Lucid Night Editions of the Rolls-Royce Black Badge Cullinan SUV. The super-luxury carmaker said that the three Bespoke products were inspired by the night view of Seoul, representing the country’s dynamism and modernity.

Rolls-Royce plans to open a third overseas private office in Seoul this year to provide more luxurious and individualized experiences for Korean customers. The carmaker currently operates one overseas private office in Dubai. Customers can visit the private office by invitation only to offer chances to discuss details of their tailor-ordered vehicles with Rolls-Royce designers and managers.

“It’s an extension and also an investment in our very important market, Korea,” said Muller-Otvos.