Could Rolls-Royce be developing its own luxury SUV?

Posted on 18 Feb 2015 by Jonny Williamson

The chairman and chief executive of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars have penned an open letter detailing “a seminal moment” in the company’s 111-year history, an all-new vehicle “that can cross any terrain.”

The letter claims that the firm stands at the “pinnacle of British manufacturing” thanks to the successful launches of Phantom in 2003, followed by Ghost and Wraith 12 years later.

The executives confirmed that Rolls-Royce is developing a luxury vehicle with “exceptional presence, elegance and purpose” that meets its customers’ “highly mobile, contemporary lifestyle expectations.”

Describing the vehicle as high-bodied with an aluminium architecture, chief executive of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes commented, “I am confident that this new Rolls-Royce will fully deliver on our brand’s promise of supreme luxury while at the same time being Effortless … Everywhere.”

Chairman of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and management board member of BMW AG, Peter Schwarzenbauer added, “The BMW Group stands proudly behind this announcement.  The Group’s continuous investment into the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars brand is paying considerable dividends.  Rolls-Royce is the ultra-luxury cornerstone of the BMW Group’s premium brand strategy and we will continue to strongly support Rolls-Royce Motor Cars as it moves, confidently, into this new phase in its development.”

Bentley Bentayga- The New Pinnacle SUV
Bentley Bentayga- The New Pinnacle SUV.

Citing the fact that “many discerning customers have urged” the development of this new car, Rolls-Royce’s decision to move into the luxury SUV market may have been influenced by the recent actions of one of its biggest competitors.

On January 12, Bentley Motors announced that its own “all-new and ground-breaking luxury SUV” would be reveled later this year and would be named Bentayga.

Due to go on sale in 2016, chairman and CEO of Bentley Motors, Wolfgang Dürheimer commented:  “Bentayga is a name that reflects what we know our SUV will do better than any other car in the world – combine the best automotive luxury with outstanding performance to take the Bentley experience to new environments.”

Confirmed in July 2013, Bentley’s decision to produce an SUV created several hundred new jobs in the UK, alongside more than £800m of investment in its Crewe headquarters.

Rolls-Royce has yet to state whether similar investments (in both capability and workforce) are on the cards as a result of its announcement today.

Prime Minister David Cameron visits the home of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars
Prime Minister David Cameron visits the home of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the announcement of an all-new Rolls-Royce model during his visit to the company’s head office and manufacturing plant at Goodwood, West Sussex.

The PM said: “Rolls-Royce is a British manufacturing success story and the decision to build their new model at Goodwood, reaffirming their commitment to the South of England, is a vote of confidence in our long-term economic plan to back business, create jobs and build a more resilient economy. This Government is backing our automotive industry which is going from strength to strength, providing financial security to almost 150,000 hardworking people across the country and adding £14 billion to our economy.”