By Ed Attwood
British firm says first ever all terrain vehicle now being designed, no production date announced
After years of speculation, arguably the world’s most famous luxury car brand has announced it is planning to build an SUV model – although it won’t be called an SUV.
UK-based Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, famous for its Phantom, Ghost and Wraith models, confirmed overnight that it would build a new model that “will cross all terrain”. However, it also said that the term SUV did not “fit comfortably into the marque’s very special brand promise”.
Further details about the new model are limited, although the Goodwood-based manufacturer said that it would be designing a new aluminium-based architecture that would underpin not only the new all-terrain car, but other future models too.
There is, as yet, no release date, no name for the new model, and no pictures hinting as to how the vehicle will look.
“The journey of developing this car begins now,” Rolls-Royce said in a statement. “We will take our time in developing this new concept in luxury… We will announce the availability date of this new Rolls-Royce in a few years’ time.”
The move into the lucrative SUV market sees Rolls-Royce follow other luxury brands such as Jaguar and Bentley. However, the company insisted that the decision was not made purely to capitalise on sales.
“Many carmakers that have no all-terrain heritage or experience have launched an SUV because they see a huge sales opportunity for their business. This is particularly apposite to the luxury market where we have seen a number of recent announcements of “luxury SUVs”,” Rolls-Royce said.
“We are not driven by this huge sales opportunity. What is key to our strategy of carefully managed growth is that Rolls-Royces remain rare, precious items and of course absolutely authentic.”
In an interview with Arabian Business last year, the marque’s CEO, Torsten Müller-Ötvös said he was questioned about a potential SUV by customers around the world, and particularly in the Middle East, “quite intensively”.
“But it has to be perfect, Rolls-Royce is never about compromise,” he added. “You don’t want to water down the brand by bringing something into the market that looks like a Rolls-Royce, but definitely doesn’t drive, behave or even smell like a Rolls-Royce.”
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, which is owned by Germany’s BMW, has recorded five consecutive years of record sales. The firm sold just over 4,000 cars last year, a 12 percent rise on the year before, helped by the recent launches of the Wraith and the Ghost Series II.
Sales in the Middle East rose by 20 percent, boosted by markets like Abu Dhabi, which hosted the world’s best-selling Rolls-Royce dealership last year.