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Rolls-Royce CEO Sees Sales Surge on Covid Deaths

Rolls-Royce sales skyrocketed 49% to a record high in 2021, despite the pandemic.
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O, Death, where is thy sting?

Well, not in the luxury car business, apparently.

Just ask Torsten Müller-Otvö, CEO of Rolls-Royce  (RYCEY) , who managed to find a silver lining in Covid-19's staggering death rate, as all that misery drove sales for the iconic luxury company last year.

"Quite a lot of people witnessed people in their community dying from Covid, that makes them think life can be short, and you'd better live now than postpone it to a later date," he said, according to the Financial Times.

Rolls-Royce said sales skyrocketed 49% to a record high in 2021, as the company sold 5,586 vehicles to customers in more than 50 countries, despite the global pandemic.

Sales were driven by the Rolls-Royce utility vehicle, the Cullinan, as well as its new Ghost model.

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Premium and luxury car sales have been growing more broadly in key global markets such as China and the United States as pandemic travel restrictions have left wealthy consumers with more disposable income, Reuters reported.

"Covid forced many people to ground, not to travel anymore and for that reason there is quite a lot of wealth accumulated and that is spent on luxury goods," Müller-Ötvös said. "We profited from that development."

In fact, sales of luxury goods in general took off last year. 

The overall luxury industry as tracked by Bain & Co. and the Italian trade association Fondazione Altagamma, found that industry surged 13% to 15% last year after a pandemic-induced contraction in 2020.

"Luxury brands have faced two years of tremendous turbulence, but the industry is coming out of the crisis with more strength, resilience, and agility than before," said the report, which encompasses both luxury goods and experiences.

Yes, over 5 million people have died since the pandemic began in 2020. And, yes, the outbreak has last longer than just about everybody thought it would, with variant after variant stepping up to the mike to sing yet another song of woe.

But if you're going downhill, you might as well be driving a sweet ride.