The Rolls-Royce Sweptail the British brand unveiled recently at the Concorso Villa d’Este in Italy was a first in many regards. Some call it the most expensive new car ever sold while others focus on what truly makes it stand out: it’s a coachbuild one-off model. This is truly a one of a kind and definitely a revival of methods used before Henry Ford’s assembly line took over the automotive world.
Today manufacturers are selling cars by the millions and the owners of Rolls-Royce — the BMW Group — make no exception. However, considering the warm reception the Sweptail received and the considerably high profit margins it brought the company, the Brits are understandably looking into whether this could be a profitable venture moving forward.
Speaking to Autocar on the sidelines of Villa d’Este, Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos hinted further custom made coachbuild cars could be made in Goodwood in the future. However, if that’s to happen, there’s almost no chance they will come close to the level of exclusivity the Sweptail offers its owner and the reason behind that is very simple.
“We will probably never repeat the level of involvement we had with a customer for this car ever again, not because we don’t want to, but because it’s always fraught with risk that someone may misinterpret the end goal. It’s a risk you might end up with something that doesn’t fit the brand, or suit the customer. We may pro-actively offer coachbuild cars in the future, where we create the project and then sell the one-off nature to a customer. That’s an idea, not a plan, but it’s something we could do,” said Muller-Otvos.
What that means is that Rolls-Royce could in the future approve certain custom-made cars born out of the creative minds of their designers but they will be built first and then sold, to those who will want a one-off car that wasn’t necessarily put together at their request. Such a move could prove to be quite profitable and we can’t wait to see what Rolls-Royce comes up with next.
There are some issues that may occur as well. There’s a reason why cars look the way they do today and why their manufacturing process is so streamlined and strict at the same time. Laws and regulations have evolved over time forcing manufacturers to make sure their cars are not only good looking but also safe for pedestrians and their occupants while on the road. Creating cars that abide these rules is a challenge in itself and it will be interesting to see how Rolls-Royce will adapt.