I asked myself a number of questions after getting the heads-up that Rolls-Royce had a major announcement coming. Rolls-Royce sells somewhat under 4,000 vehicles a year – spread between Phantom, Ghost, and Wraith offerings. Given those numbers any new vehicle announced by Rolls-Royce would come from an architecture that could be used by its partner company, BMW.
Now, the wording of the prior sentence is a bit abstruse, in the ‘perplexing’ sense of the word. In reality, that sentence should read, any new platform (below the Phantom) would be based on an architecture developed by Rolls-Royce’s parent, BMW.
So the first question I asked myself is this, what does Rolls-Royce’s announcement tell us? And the answer is – the large BMW X platform is a go.
Second question. How many of these do we think Rolls-Royce will sell? I suspect we’re looking at somewhere between 15% to 20% bump in total sales for Rolls-Royce with this new product added to the line, this could propel Rolls-Royce to close to 5,000 vehicles annually.
Third question. How will this new vehicle be used? During the Ghost II launch we were told that Rolls-Royce owners do not use their cars for long distance driving. They have access to other transportation choices (private air) for that – time being the ultimate luxury. The expectation based on that is that the new off-road capable Rolls-Royce would be used from manorial home to hunt, from chalet to slopes.
Fourth question. Who will drive it? Phantom owners are more likely to have chauffeurs than Ghost or Wraith owners. The Ghost and Wraith owners may be younger or have newer money than Phantom owners and still enjoy driving. Expect the new Rolls-Royce to be targeted to those that will enjoy the driving experience.
Finally, what will it look like? Thousand dollar (or, more likely, $350,000) question. In the announcement Rolls-Royce continually used the word car – I did not see the acronym SUV once. Will it be a two box shape like the X5 or more coupe, like the X6, or perhaps a proportionally correct 7er GT? Let the renderings begin.
As we learn more, we’ll keep you informed.