GENEVA -- Rolls-Royce is considering a less expensive, higher volume model to compete against Bentley's new Continental Flying Spur sedan.
"Our engineering team is looking at lots of concepts," said Rolls-Royce CEO Ian Robertson during an interview at the Geneva auto show. "We are absolutely committed to see this family develop. I wouldn't rule anything out or in."
Rolls-Royce, which is a subsidiary of BMW, has made products in many segments during the course of its history, and that gives the brand room to expand, Robertson said.
Rolls-Royce currently sells just one car, the Phantom. It costs E323,700 in Europe and $328,000 (E249,400) before taxes in the US.
Volkswagen group subsidiary Bentley, which was under the same ownership as Rolls-Royce until the two split at the end of 2002, introduced the Continental Flying Spur sedan at the Geneva auto show.
The new Bentley sedan will sell for E144,400 in Europe and $165,950 in the US.
Robertson said the brand's Goodwood, England, factory, where Rolls-Royce makes the Phantom, could easily double its 1,000-cars-a-year capacity.
Last week, Rolls-Royce approved the design of a new convertible that will be similar to the 100EX Centenary Experimental Car introduced at the Geneva show in 2004. The 100EX is expected to go into production in 2007.
The 6085mm Rolls
Rolls-Royce introduced a new, long-wheelbase version of the Phantom limousine here in Geneva.
The car will not be sold in Europe or the US. Robertson said the 6085mm car, with 250mm more back seat room than the current model, is aimed primarily at the Middle East and Asia, the largest markets for chauffeur-driven limousines.
For overall sales of the brand, the US is Rolls-Royce's largest market, with about half its sales.
Bentley's strategy of focusing on models slightly more downscale than those of Rolls and Daimler-Chrysler's Maybach brand has boosted volume dramatically. Last year, Bentley built 7,562 cars, up from 685 in 2003, while Rolls-Royce built 870 cars in 2004 and Maybach 744 units.