A familiar face, Howard Mosher, is back at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars as director of worldwide sales and marketing. Mosher, 55, was president of Rolls-Royce's U.S. sales and marketing subsidiary, then based in Lyndhurst, N.J., from 1988 to 1994.
He started the new job March 3 at the new Rolls-Royce headquarters in Goodwood, England and reports to Tony Gott, Rolls-Royce managing director. Mosher said in a phone interview from Munich on May 6 that Rolls-Royce will soon name a managing director for North American operations.
Rolls-Royce is starting over next year with a new factory, a new product, and a new organization, but the company has been secretive about its plans for the U.S. market. Rolls-Royce dealers who attended a dealer meeting in Boca Raton, Fla., two weeks ago said they had to sign a confidentiality agreement.
In the United States, the company will reportedly sign up about 24 dealers. It is likely that all of them are already Rolls-Royce dealers. Dealers who want to keep the brand will have to provide separate facilities for Rolls-Royce and Bentley.
BMW bought the rights to the Rolls-Royce automotive brand from Vickers PLC in 1998 after BMW lost out to Volkswagen AG in a bid to buy both Rolls-Royce and Bentley. Since then, Volkswagen has controlled both brands, but BMW takes over Rolls-Royce on Jan. 1.
Bentley dealers already have new dealer agreements for that brand which extend past Jan. 1. But Rolls-Royce dealers will have to sign new agreements at that time. "We have no franchise agreements with anybody yet. We don't control the brand yet," Mosher said.
Mosher began his automotive career at American Motors Corp. in 1971. He was director of sales and operations for AMC in 1983 and 1984.
His new position marks a return to parent company BMW. He joined Land Rover North America Inc. in late 1994 and was its president from 1999 to January 2001. BMW owned Land Rover from 1994 to 2000, when it sold the company to Ford Motor Co.
The first BMW-developed Rolls-Royce will probably debut at the Detroit auto show in January. It will reportedly have a V-12 engine. The Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph sedan already has a BMW V-12.