Rolls will add smaller car to lineup in 2010
CEO Ian Robertson says Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd. plans to add a second shift to its Goodwood, England, factory to build the new car. The second shift could build up to 800 cars annually, doubling Rolls-Royce's annual sales.
Rolls-Royce sold 805 cars globally last year, a number Robertson is "extremely comfortable with."
The new car would be "smaller than the Phantom, but it will be a large car" - about the size of parent company BMW's long-wheelbase 7 series, Robertson says.
The design was completed and approved in late December, and the project is now in the engineering phase, he says.
The platform and engine for the car would be unique to Rolls-Royce. Rolls hasn't decided whether to use its 6.75-liter powerplant or a new engine. But various electronic components would come from BMW, including the electronic architecture, says Robertson.
"Yes, there would be BMW DNA in it - when you look at the Phantom, there is a BMW electronic background, but it has a unique backbone," he says. "It will have the attributes and behavior of a Rolls-Royce."
This means the car has to have a higher seating position and features such as instant acceleration and the quietness that has prompted some to ask, "When will you start the car?" - when, in fact, the car is already running, says Robertson.
Rolls-Royce doesn't want to price the car below $250,000. "It is logical to be in that price point, just below where we are," he says.
"There appears to be a gap in that range."
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