What Lincoln learns in China about customer service, as well as its bigger manufacturing volume, could help its North American operations, according to Farley.
“That competency around personalized service is something we absolutely will learn here,” he said. Sales in China will give Lincoln “the ability to build scale and to invest engineering for more product that then we can sell in more markets, including North America.”
So far, the market appears to be immune to an official anti-corruption and austerity campaign launched by President Xi Jinping that has cut into sales of high-end liquor and other luxury goods.
Xi, who took office in early 2013, has demanded Communist Party and government officials cut waste.
Senior officials have been investigated on corruption charges. Their relatives and business associates also have been targeted, making flamboyant displays of wealth politically dangerous.
Despite that, Torsten said Rolls-Royce expects another good year after 2013’s 17 percent growth. China already is the Goodwood, England-based company’s biggest market, accounting for 26 percent of last year’s record global sales of 3,630 vehicles.
At the Beijing auto show, the centerpiece of the Rolls Royce exhibit was a silver-and-maroon limousine dubbed the Phantom Pinnacle Travel that was created for China.
“We showed that car in a very exclusive event on Friday night for selected customers, and guess what?” said Muller-Otvos. “We sold it.”