GENEVA - BMW should declare its plans for Rolls-Royce to end uncertainty over the future of the brand, said Adrian Hallmark, marketing chief of Rolls-Royce and Bentley Motor Cars Ltd.
Hallmark said BMW's silence on its Rolls-Royce plans is hurting the brand.
Volkswagen owns Rolls-Royce and Bentley. But BMW will take over the Rolls-Royce brand in 2003.
BMW's 'lack of commitment to anything is causing us problems,' Hallmark said. 'I think it's sad. I think they should come out of their shell and say what they mean.
'They're risking the future value of the brand by their current silence,' he said. 'Customers are just standing back and folding their arms, watching what's going on.'
BMW responded by revealing a little more about its plans for Rolls-Royce. But it still gave no information about its plans for a Rolls-Royce dealer network or factory site.
A new Rolls-Royce was launched at the recent Geneva auto show: the sumptuous Park Ward limousine, based on the Silver Seraph.
Hallmark said with the Silver Seraph, Corniche and Park Ward, Rolls-Royce has its strongest product lineup in years.
Rolls-Royce sales fell 26 percent in 1999 to 444 units worldwide. The company sold 600 units the previous year. Rolls-Royce and Bentley officials said this was caused by continuing uncertainty about the future of the marque.
'Early sales results from January and February have indicated that demand for the Silver Seraph continues to be weak,' Rolls-Royce and Bentley said in a statement.
One piece of positive news was an order for 31 Rolls-Royce Silver Seraphs from Dubai. The order broke the previous record set in the 1960s, when the Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society ordered 30 Silver Cloud chassis. The chassis later were used for hearses.
The Silver Seraphs were ordered for Dubai's Millennium Shopping Festival. One car a day has been raffled off this month.