NEW YORK -- Rolls-Royce expects its new convertible based on the Phantom sedan to account for 30 percent to 40 percent of the company's annual production.
The company built 703 vehicles in the first 10 months of 2004 and has said it wants to produce about 1,000 annually.
The convertible will debut in 2007, says Stefan Krause, CFO of BMW AG and temporary CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. The two-door convertible will be priced higher than the Phantom, which has a base price of $324,000, including freight.
Krause sees Rolls-Royce adding more vehicles. "We want to further expand the range," he said in an interview. "It traditionally had allowed for some level of expansion. I am very comfortable with that part of the business being a contributor to the bottom line."
Rolls-Royce is considering longer-wheelbase and armored versions of the Phantom, which is in its first full year of sales.
The convertible will be smaller than the 223-inch 100EX show car that appeared at the Geneva auto show in March, Krause says.
The Phantom is 240 inches long.
Says Krause: "The 100EX gives you a good idea of what kind of direction the car will take."
The convertible will have an aluminum space-frame chassis. Rolls-Royce put the car on tour this summer in the United States, showing it to prospective owners.
BMW, which owns Rolls-Royce, decided to give the convertible the green light because of enthusiasm for the 100EX concept, Krause says.
"We have gotten such good reviews and so many unsolicited purchase offers for the 100EX," he says.
The convertible will use the Phantom's 6.75-liter V-12 engine. The show car had a V-16. It will be built in Goodwood, England, where the Phantom is produced.
Krause took over Rolls-Royce last month when CEO Karl-Heinz Kalbfell left to head Alfa Romeo. Krause says he can't predict how long he'll be at the helm of Rolls-Royce while the company searches for a new CEO.
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