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Rolls-Royce SUV debut cements Vancouver's luxury-car capital status

Last Updated May 18, 2018 at 10:54 am PDT


North American debut of the Cullinan coincided with the opening of Canada's first standalone Rolls-Royce dealership

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – First London, then… Vancouver? That’s the rollout strategy for Rolls-Royce and its first SUV, the Cullinan.

Its North American debut was held in Vancouver Thursday, coinciding with the opening of Canada’s first standalone Rolls-Royce dealership.

A flood of wealthy people into Vancouver from around the world, especially China, has fueled a luxury car market that also has bespoke dealerships for Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bentley and McLaren.

Rolls-Royce parent company BMW has taken notice, according to Pedro Mota. The president of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars of North America says Canada has a “large share” of the continent’s 200 pre-orders for the Cullinan, which has a base price of $375,500 Canadian that will rise to about $390,000 after duties and fees but before sales taxes.

The Rolls-Royce Cullinan was unveiled in Vancouver on May 17, 2018. (Richard Dettman, NEWS 1130 Photo)

Mota says if BMW separated Canadian Rolls-Royce sales numbers, this country would be its sixth-largest market – ahead of Germany.

Dealership owner Christian Chia, CEO of Open Road Auto Group, says there has been strong interest in the Cullinan from existing Rolls owners whom he says “have been begging for this car.”

He adds that demand in Vancouver is stronger than in Toronto or Montreal. Rolls-Royce is following Bentley and Lamborghini into the high-end SUV market as auto sales in general shift away from sedans.

The Rolls-Royce Cullinan was unveiled in Vancouver on May 17, 2018. (Richard Dettman, NEWS 1130 Photo)

The Cullinan is roughly the same size as a Cadillac Escalade or Lincoln Navigator, and is named for the biggest diamond ever discovered. The SUV has a twin-turbocharged, 563 horsepower V-12 engine from BMW, four-wheel drive and four-wheel steering. Rolls-Royce has produced videos in partnership with National Geographic that show the Cullinan tackling off-road situations in Scotland, the U.S., Austria and the Middle East.

The company claims “The entire package makes Cullinan capable of overcoming any challenge” while still able to deliver its famous “magic carpet ride.”