Tough times? Not for Rolls-Royce.

Rolls-Royce enjoys record sales in 2011. Nearly a third of Rolls-Royces are sold in China.

Jumana El Heloueh/Reuters
An employee dusts off a sold Rolls-Royce "Ghost" before a customer picks it up at a Rolls-Royce showroom in Dubai Monday. Upmarket UK-based carmaker Rolls-Royce, owned by BMW, said it sold a record 3,538 cars in 2011, benefiting from a surge in demand for luxury cars from customers in emerging markets.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars sales hit record-breaking levels in 2011, with more cars sold than ever before in the brand’s 107-year history.

Over 3,500 of the ultra-luxury cars were sold, representing a 31 percent rise on 2010.

 “It is definitely a nice investment to put your money in a Rolls-Royce, because on the one hand it is something that keeps value, and on the other, it is something that really gives pleasure,” Rolls-Royce CEO, Torsten Muller-Otvos, told CNBC Monday.

 “That is one of the reasons we saw many people buying Rolls-Royces last year,” he added.

 Muller-Otvos said 70 percent of all Rolls-Royces ever built were still on the road today.

 Asia-Pacific and North America were the brand’s biggest markets in 2011, with 30 percent of sales going to China.

 The biggest rise was in Asia-Pacific, where sales soared by 47 percent. In the UK, where Rolls-Royces remain popular, they rose by 30 percent.

 "There is no typical Rolls-Royce buyer. We have seen buyers out of the celebrity area, the sports area and the film area, but also a lot of self-employed people, entrepreneurs," Muller-Otvos said.

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