+91 Europe, one of the fastest growing networks of Indian CEO's, corporate executives and professionals, held a high profile event in Hotel Le Richemond, Geneva, on 5 November. The event explored how luxury brands like Rolls-Royce were targeting markets like India for future growth. Keynote speaker was Tom Purves, CEO, Rolls-Royce.
A slowdown in Japan, coupled with weak spending in the US and Europe is forcing luxury goods companies to reassess their strategies. Luxury brands are now shifting their hopes to emerging markets such as China and India. India is no stranger to the luxury industry with its Maharajas and princely states of the past. But today it's the "new Maharajas - the kings of business" that the uber luxury brands want to target. The uppermost ranks of India’s 1.1bn citizens are among the world’s most affluent. According to Forbes’ annual list of the world’s wealthiest people, India has the most billionaires of any Asian country.
Tom Purves, who started his career as an apprentice engineer at Rolls-Royce, and has been the CEO of Rolls-Royce since July 2008, gave an impressive overview of the history of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. Charles Stewart Rolls, a wealthy, well connected and marketing savvy aristocrat, met Frederick Henry Royce, a miller's son and brilliant engineer, on 4th May 1904 at the Midland Hotel in Manchester. They formed a partnership that would become famous the world over for engineering perfection: Rolls-Royce.
When Rolls-Royce began, Britain was at the zenith of its power with its empire, and India was very much the "jewel in the crown". It was an India of Maharaja's and princely states, and naturally a Rolls-Royce was the must have royal accessory of the day. So India became a very important market for Rolls-Royce cars right from the beginning, and many fine examples of cars from the period remain to this day.
But in modern times, its the Indian diaspora as well as the business elite in India that Rolls-Royce want to target. India has largely shaken off the global downturn and business confidence remains high. Tom Purves confirmed that in the next 5 to 10 years he expects India to be an essential market for Rolls-Royce.
Tom Purves also spoke about the launch of the Rolls-Royce Ghost, affectionately known as the "Baby Rolls". The Ghost has all the qualities of the flagship Phantom, but it is smaller and considerably less expensive. Despite the recession, customer response has outstripped expectations, with many of the inquiries coming from new customers.
An engineering concept that is central to all Rolls-Royce cars is "waftability". Tom Purves described "waftability" as the essence of the Rolls-Royce brand, and that it stood for "quiet perfection and accelerating quickly without much fuss".
Rakesh Rawal, founder of +91 Europe, said: "Whilst doing the research for the event, I had a chance to learn more about the amazing history of Rolls-Royce, and I can only say that Rolls-Royce truly stands for the "Great" in Great Britain. I believe affluent Indians will once again see Rolls-Royce as the ultimate symbol of success."
+91 (plus-91.com) is one of the fastest growing networks of Indian CEO's, corporate executives and professionals. The growth in membership reflects the success of the Indian diaspora as well as the emergence of the Indian economy as an influential player on the global stage.
Membership is open to anyone interested in international business. We selected the name +91, as +91 is the international telephone dialling code for India, and a unique identifier of India across the world.