Exclusive hot wheels making mark

Amid the financial doom and gloom of Budget week, it seems some West Australians are travelling OK.

Department of Transport figures show the number of newly registered cars worth more than $200,000 rose 33 per cent last financial year - from 104 in 2011-12 to 138 in 2012-13.

In the same period, newly registered cars worth between $100,000 and $199,999 rose 45 per cent, from 994 to 1441.

The trend in WA towards more expensive cars has not gone unnoticed.

Last month, luxury car maker Rolls-Royce officially landed in Perth with the opening of its first WA showroom.

The showroom features what is probably the most expensive car on display in the State - the $1,027,000 Phantom SWB. With a 6.75-litre engine and a maximum speed of 240km/h, the car can travel from zero to 100km/h in 5.9 seconds. Like all the Rolls-Royce cars, the price is bespoke and dependent on customer specifications.

The cheapest on offer is the Ghost Saloon - and at $645,000 it is still more expensive than the value of many of our homes.

In his coverage of the showroom opening, _The Weekend West _'s motoring editor Sam Jeremic said the arrival of Rolls-Royce was "the surest sign yet that we in WA are loaded and love to spend our money on the finer things in life".

Luxury car dealership Barbagallo will look after WA's first Rolls showroom on Scarborough Beach Road in Osborne Park.

"We are delighted to represent Rolls-Royce in Perth as the brand has gone from strength to strength with a model range epitomising cool, contemporary luxury, " dealer principal Vince Barbagallo told Jeremic.

Between January and the end of March, Rolls-Royce had sold five cars in Australia, including one in WA.

It is not known how many vehicles the company expects to sell in WA but its Asia Pacific sales and marketing general manager Dan Balmer said a Perth showroom was a long time in the making.

"Our first Rolls-Royce customer in 2003 came from Perth and, prior to Barbagallo's appointment, we have had customers from WA," Mr Balmer said.

Cultural studies commentator Jon Stratton, from Curtin University, said buying expensive cars was often a way for people to show their wealth.

"I suspect most of the recent buyers are people in their 40s or 50s who want a car that is comfortable, reliable, big enough for the family and show that they are wealthy," he said. ON THE ROAD 33% The rise of cars worth more than $200,000 on WA roads in 2012-13

The West Australian

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