The average per capita income in Cambodia is $1,000. A Rolls-Royce Phantom is 470 times as much. Would it be smart for Rolls-Royce to open a showroom in Cambodia? Yes — and there's a reason why they're doing so.
Rolls-Royce is opening its first dealership in Cambodia because despite it being one of the world's poorest countries — #147 in 187 countries contributing to the International Monetary Fund, #143 of 182 countries aided by the World Bank — there is a small sliver of wealth in the country, and those buyers want the best of the best. Only five people have bought Rolls-Royces in Cambodia in the last nine years, according to the AP.
"Nobody would believe that such a luxury car would come to Cambodia," said Minister for Industry and Handcrafts Cham Prasidh, who was present for the announcement.
Cheaper Japanese models still dominate the market, but the upgrading of roads — which had suffered from war and neglect — and the rise in people's living standards mean other car manufacturers from various countries are now entering the Cambodian market, he said.
Opening a Rolls-Royce dealer in Cambodia might be a landmark for the country, but they're not the only country with odd juxtapositions of ultra-luxury cars traversing the streets of the impoverished. The world's poorest country, the Congo, has a Mercedes dealer in its capital city, Kinshasa. So does Paraguay. Luxury imports, albeit used, can be had in Lesotho. Heck, 12 years ago, it turned out the most popular car in Albania was a Mercedes.
Photo via AP