GENEVA - The 2003 Rolls-Royce sedan will use predominantly German parts and manufacturing technology, the luxury automaker's top executive acknowledged here last week.
Although Rolls-Royce is synonymous with British luxury, the new BMW-developed car will be built from components largely sourced from the automaker's trusted Bavarian supplier base.
The body and engine will come from BMW plants in Germany.
But the wood and leather interior treatments will continue to be British-sourced.
"The best suppliers are in Germany," said Tony Gott, director of Project Rolls Royce. "To build a Rolls-Royce, you must have the very best technology and machinery."
He declined to say what percentage of parts and technology would be German.
Gott was asked whether using mostly German parts makes the car less a Rolls-Royce.
He responded: "We could build a cottage-industry, countryside car and call it British, but would it be a Rolls-Royce? We are in a global industry, and if the best alternator comes from the U.S., or the best gearing comes from Japan, we should use it.
"We want the car to embody all that is Rolls-Royce design, but does that mean we need an English chief engineer, working with a purely English staff in a design center in England? It all depends on the conviction in the minds of the people."
Gott said product development decisions were based on what would be best for the Rolls-Royce brand, rather than looking for existing BMW components to use; but it was convenient that BMW had an engine applicable for the car.
Said Gott, "Would you say this car is German? No."