Although five years have passed since the introduction of the first model from the Black Badge line, the premiere of each new model is still a big event for the brand. The co-owner of Auto Fus Group, Piotr Fus, told me who buys such cars in Poland and why.
The world as we know it is going through historical changes. And few facts show this change – not only of the car – in a more obvious way than the Black Badge model line offered by Rolls-Royce. The British themselves call them the “dark alter ego” of the current offer. In practice, this means that cars from this series are distinguished by more complex chassis settings, more power or even – attention, attention – by the sound of the engine. In short: everything that was not on this venerable brand for the first 100 years of its existence.
In this regard, the new Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge may seem like a shocking car to conservatives. By yourself the second generation of the example of the Spirit it is a development-oriented design that has never been done: on board we can find, among other things, laser lights and modern multimedia. The Black Badge variant has added to this range even stiffer suspension settings, a gearbox that can vibrate when driving at high speeds and more power (29 HP).
Not that the Spirit had been weak before. Ghost Black Badge with the help of a powerful V12 engine with a capacity of 6.75 liters produces 600 hp and atomic 900 Nm of torque. In this way, this large limousine, which is more than 5.5 meters long, which the manufacturer himself describes as “minimalism in the extreme”, accelerates to 100 km / h in 4.7 seconds and speeds up to 250 km / h. The rear passenger can see all this from a quiet cabin with deep merino wool rugs and a champagne cooler.
How do you drive a car like this? I have already written about it, as Autokult – as the only Polish automotive editorial office – was invited to drive this model before its premiere, during a secret event in England. You can read about my Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge test by clicking the link below. The Polish event was an excuse for me to learn first-hand from the person who runs the Polish showroom of Rolls-Royce how the adoption of this still surprising and unusual fashion line looks in our country. Who buys such cars and why? Are they selected only in black? The answers may surprise you.
Mateusz Żuchowski: The decision to introduce the Black Badge line for the promotion was an unknown step even for Rolls-Royce itself. How was it received in Poland?
Piotr Fus, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Warsaw: The average age of customers in Poland is above average. In other European countries or, for example, in Turkey, this average is more than 60 years. It is 50 years in Poland. Models from the Black Badge line are very popular among customers in this age group. I already have several car orders delivered today.
M.Ż .: Why do these people choose the Black Badge variant?
PF: It’s not just because it’s stronger or faster. The important thing for many customers is that this is the best example of the brand that can be bought right now. They see it as the pinnacle of Rolls-Royce’s capabilities. From our point of view, we are still talking about a different, more sporty variant. Each client can decide for himself whether he needs such an opinion.
The world is moving more and more towards electric motors, but in Poland V8 and V12 engines still dominate. Big engines are included, power is included. There are customers on the Polish market who want to show their attitude to the world by choosing electric cars, but at the same time we have a large group of traditional car enthusiasts.
It is also worth noting that the Rolls-Royce 6.75 l V12 petrol engine meets all the latest emission standards. Nowadays, it is success that affects the exclusivity and price of this model. It is possible to achieve strict emission standards with such a vehicle, but it requires the use of more modern and advanced equipment and technology. This is an achievement that places Rolls-Royce in a unique position in the overall market.
M.Ż .: So what has the Black Badge line changed from the producer’s point of view? Has it been able to expand the recipient group or rather keep up with changing trends?
PF: We have a group of customers who don’t drive these cars themselves, and the technical design of a model like the Ghost Black Badge is not something that meets their needs. They don’t need their Rolls-Royce to be fast or sportier in design to be heard. However, the group of customers who sit at the controls themselves is constantly growing and for them every 29 HP makes a difference. There are also people who think that if there is already one copy of this model in town, then it must be in the Black Badge version. This is how human nature works at every level and it will not change.
This is not a Polish feature. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Warsaw for many years was responsible for servicing this brand in neighboring countries. Customers are the same people. For example, they are interested in what their friend or some famous person bought. Of course, I can’t tell them. Our goal is to ensure that each of these demanding customers feels satisfied.
M.Ż .: I consider the Black Badge line not only in terms of the market, but also as a social event. For me, its presence proves that the way of consuming luxury is changing, also in Poland, and thus the nature of customers, for example Rolls-Royce.
PF: It’s true. Rolls-Royce customers are increasingly driving their own cars. They expect all the new things, like Apple CarPlay or Spotify, to be in them, because they just use them. How this market is changing is confirmed by, for example, the cars that came to the Polish premiere of Ghosta Black Badge. Despite the name, cars from this line should not be black. As you can see, they are available in bold colors like the Galileo Blue featured here.
It used to be said that the Rolls-Royce was the oldest, most well-oiled car in Britain. Today it is a completely different brand. I have already sold cars in Poland in color configurations that are hard to imagine. Even copies in this blue color.
M.Ż .: Contrary to appearances, it is difficult to find a new Rolls-Royce in boring colors. Where does this greater tendency of Polish customers of this brand to make more extravagant choices than conventional cars come from?
PF: Rolls-Royce cars operate in completely different market realities. In the case of production cars, even in the premium segment, colors and materials are often carefully chosen due to their residual value. The client plans to operate for several years, after which he ends up financing or plans to sell. Natural color greatly complicates such a scheme.
It’s different for Rolls-Royce customers. They have no plans to sell their cars. When we choose the setup together, I know that this car will stay with them forever. These are cars that are bought for very personal reasons and that connect their owners with important events in their lives.
Someone bought them for the birth of a child or grandchild, someone took their child to a wedding in his car and now the children are happy about a successful marriage. These cars become talismans of the owners or their displays. One of my clients chose a very unique color for her Rolls-Royce – the same color as her nails. Now he can’t imagine anyone else driving this car.
Rolls-Royce models even have a different production cycle than regular cars. Even big brand limousines like BMW or Mercedes-Benz change every 5-6 years. Ghost and Phantom have been in production for the longest time. This fact, unique in the size of the entire market, makes the residual value of these cars incomparably higher. They never get cheaper, and often get more expensive at an impressive rate.
When a used car appears on the Polish market, it is rather one of the older models. In a narrow group of customers of this brand, it immediately becomes very sought after. One of these cars appeared in our showroom and I sold it to Krakow. Since then, this car has changed owners three times and each of them made a good profit on this car.
So we are suffering a bit from the shortage of used cars, because none of my customers – and I already have – want to sell me a Rolls-Royce from their collection, but buy more. Why do they need the money they get from selling this car? They will not change anything in their life again. It makes my job difficult, but I am happy because it shows that Rolls-Royce cars in Poland are not bought by people by accident.
M.Ż .: So who are the Polish customers of Rolls-Royce? Are we talking about a large group of recipients?
PF: These people are in Poland, but they care about their privacy. I often visit clients for meetings, not them in the salon. We talk a lot with each other, which translates into a personal relationship that doesn’t end when selling a car. They are people from all over the country, not only from Warsaw, but also from other cities, even very small cities.
These are people from families who have been building their wealth for many generations, who pass not only their company, but also the ethics and culture of work with each succeeding generation. We have inventors in Poland who have built their position on the basis of patents that are used worldwide. We have producers of such things in Poland and on a scale that we cannot fit into our minds. We also have clients with very simple businesses. What they have in common is the fact that they are very hard working people. These are people who are living and true proof that hard work pays off. They prove how the old saying in Poland that “the first million is stolen” is not true.
Now they buy a car of this brand to – as I call it – mark their place on Earth. Rolls-Royce cars are not cars that are bought by people on the principle of “pawn and put yourself”. The Ghost model, which we can see here, costs from about PLN 2 million and more. The people who choose them also have planes that cost several million or several euros. The purchase of such a car is certainly not the end of their financial possibilities.