MUNICH (Bloomberg) -- Rolls-Royce is considering an SUV, following Bentley's lead in the race to make the world's most exclusive crossover.
"We are intensively thinking about entering the SUV segment," Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes said in an interview at the Frankfurt auto show.
A Rolls-Royce model in the segment could cost more than the first SUV from Volkswagen Group's ultra-luxury Bentley brand, which will go on sale in 2016 and is set to cost about 180,000 euros ($240,000). Rolls-Royce's cheapest cars sell for about 250,000 euros.
A Rolls-Royce SUV would be part of an upmarket shift for a vehicle style that is becoming increasingly popular.
Fiat Groups's Maserati brand plans to start production of the Levante SUV in 2015, while Jaguar showed a crossover concept at the Frankfurt show.
"The SUV segment is very interesting," Mueller-Oetvoes said. "It has been incredibly stable during the crisis, and I think a luxury niche will develop."
Rolls-Royce, which is owned by BMW Group, is beginning the evaluation by having designers draw up sketches as a first step in deciding whether a SUV fits the brand. A decision is open, Mueller-Oetvoes said.