Rolls adds gadgets, new transmission to Phantom series
NEW YORK -- Rolls-Royce showed an updated Phantom sedan plus its derivatives, the first freshening of the car since it debuted in 2003.
The new Phantom, Drophead Coupe convertible and Coupe will be called the Series II models and will go on sale in the United States in September.
The biggest change is a new eight-speed automatic transmission that replaces the current six-speed automatic and boosts fuel economy by 10 percent. The car also gets an updated navigation system and, for the first time, connections for mobile phones and entertainment devices.
The major exterior change is front LED lights that adapt to the speed of the car, dispersing light more widely at low speeds and more intensely at speeds over 75 mph.
Rolls CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes said the freshened Phantom will help the company set a new global sales record this year, topping the record 3,538 cars sold worldwide in 2011.
Last year, China was the biggest market for Rolls-Royce for the first time. But based on first-quarter sales and expected demand, the United States likely will take back the No. 1 position in 2012, he said.
Mueller-Oetvoes would not specify U.S. sales, but he said they represent about 30 percent of worldwide volume.
He said there is no timetable for adding Ghost derivatives, including a possible coupe or convertible.
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