Charlie Cooksey interviews Cesar Habib, Regional Director of Rolls-Royce Middle East & Africa.
Rolls-Royce as a brand is known to be the pinnacle of luxury. What is “luxury”, and what defines a luxury car?
I believe that luxury is not just a product. Luxury is a journey and a lifestyle that somebody has to experience. Every Rolls-Royce is a piece of art; from the engineering to the smallest of details and what makes Rolls-Royce luxurious is the Bespoke capabilities and service level it entails.
When a customer starts a journey with Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, he becomes a member of our family.
How do the demands of Middle East clients differ from other clients?
Our clients are global citizens. With that said, they know what the trends are globally. They are open minded, they are passionate about luxury, and more importantly, they like to share.
Our customers may differ in demographics, but their mindset and what they regard as important are the same: they want luxury and service. They want to be proud of what they own. In short — there’s not a big difference. They’re very, very, similar.
Are there any defining characteristics that makes Rolls-Royce unique?
No two Rolls-Royces are the same – they may look similar from the outside but ultimately, it’s down to what the customer wants, specifically customized to their tastes and imagination. We fulfill the dreams of all our customers, as long as they are compliant to the law and the law of physics.
Are there any customizations that stand out to you?
Before coming to the Middle East, I was the head of Bespoke so I did some fascinating cars which I have to say, I fell in love with. However, there is one that stands out.
During the Geneva International Motor Show in 2018, I was approached by a customer who lived in Europe but originated from this region. He told me, “Cesar, I want to produce a car that’s going to stay in my family forever. I want to incorporate in that car the birthdays of all my family members”. He didn’t want these details to be obvious, therefore, we came up with the theme of “hide and seek”.
Simply putting the data in the car would be very easy – but that isn’t Rolls-Royce. So, I challenged my designers to come up with something creative and apt for the customer’s preferences. We incorporated their story into the car from its interior to the aesthetics, and the result was mind-blowing. This car cannot be replicated.
This was the kind of personalization I was talking about. This is what makes Rolls-Royce luxurious.
Take us through an average day as Regional Director.
I try to be early in the office around 8:15. From there, my day stretches into the evening. I try to give as much time to my team as they need and we collaborate and brainstorm together as well as with our customers.
Being a regional director is about passion and hard work. If you’re not passionate about the job and the brand, you will not make it.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
I would say that the biggest challenge is fulfilling our customer’s dreams. At Rolls-Royce, we strive for perfection which in itself is a great challenge. Do we have stress? Yes. We are all humans. Is it always in my control? No. But the worst thing that one can do is try to hide it. Be proactive and maintain your relationship with your customer.
Over time, I’ve learned that as long as you are open, transparent, trustworthy, and appreciative to your customers – you can fix the even biggest stress that you might face.