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Good times roll for luxury cars

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Monday, January 14, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

With the least expensive Rolls Royce luxury automobile going for $272,000, you'd think sales would be slow. In fact, The Wall Street Journal reports that the British car manufacturer reported its second consecutive annual sales record in 108 years.

In 2012, Rolls Royce sold 3,575 cars. The market with the fastest-growing sales, up by 25 percent, is the Middle East. Other new, global markets where business is rising are Latin America and Thailand. This year, the company, now a unit of BMW, plans to launch a new model in its Ghost series.

The good times rolled for other premium carmakers: BMW had a record year, along with Audi AG, Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover. Over the past four years, sales of luxury cars worldwide have grown by 13 percent. But sales of cars for the super-rich, including Rolls Royce, Bentley and Maserati, have increased 36 percent during that time. Bentley reports that sales rose by 22 percent in 2012.

Demand for all luxury items has been steadily increasing, likely fueled in part by double-digit gains last year in the stock market that is lining the pockets of the wealthy.

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