Rolling out super-luxury chauffeurs

Rolling out super-luxury chauffeurs

Rolls-Royce introduces workshops in Thailand and a handful of Asia-Pacific countries to train drivers of its cars on everything from etiquette to security.

Owning a Rolls-Royce is considered an achievement for buyers anywhere in the world, but the complete experience also includes being chauffeured around by drivers who understand excellent driving etiquette and sound handling practices for this super-luxury marque.

After paying close to a whopping Bt40 million for a Rolls-Royce Phantom Extended Wheelbase, one might wonder whether the chauffeur has what it takes. That's why the esteemed British carmaker has introduced a pilot series of chauffeur workshops in the Asia-Pacific region.

In Thailand the British marque is represented by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Bangkok. According to Rolls-Royce, the "White Glove Programme" is the first of its kind in this region, and comes as a complimentary package for the ultra-rich who purchase a new Rolls-Royce car.

While many owners in the United States or the UK drive their Rolls, customers in Asia prefer to be chauffeur-driven, says Andi McCann.

McCann is the company's approved VVIP chauffeur, chauffeur and etiquette trainer, product expert, as well as chauffeur for the board of directors, CEO and chairman. He is highly experienced in working with chauffeurs and racing drivers, including two Formula 1 world champions.

High-end luxury coaches are driven by three types of drivers - fleet drivers, private drivers and manufacturer drivers (such as BMW, Bentley and Rolls-Royce). It is important they know how to handle the car in all situations and follow every etiquette, he pointed out. It even starts before actually driving the vehicle, as the appearance of the driver also plays an overriding role in the confidence of the passengers.

"While in Asia a chauffeur's uniform may be a little different due to the weather, in UK the standard outfit is a black suit and tie [with a Windsor knot] as well as well-polished leather shoes with leather soles," McCann said.

There are also restrictions on cellphone use. The Bluetooth connection should never be switched on as passengers could hear incoming calls or messages, while earpieces are also not recommended as they "look too Star Trek".

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