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Rolls-Royce Offers 1st Good Look at Upcoming SUV

Project Cullinan “takes next step.”

by on Dec.01, 2016

The Rolls-Royce SUV mule will be getting a serious workout in the months to come.

Rolls-Royce is plowing plans to put its first SUV on the road – and its giving us a first look at the vehicle it’s developing as part of what it has dubbed Project Cullinan.

The British ultra-luxury brand is just one of the latest manufacturers to adapt to shifting market trends, echoing rival Bentley which launched its own Bentayga sport-utility vehicle earlier this year. With the exception of Ferrari, in fact, all major super-premium brands – including such names as Aston Martin and Lamborghini – intend to roll out utes of their own.

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“This is an incredibly exciting moment in the development of Project Cullinan both for Rolls-Royce and for the patrons of luxury that follow us around the world,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, in a statement accompanying these two images.

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Codename: 103EX – Definitely Not Your (Rich) Father’s Rolls-Royce

A Phantom for tomorrow’s Masters of the Universe.

by on Jun.16, 2016

The Rolls-Royce 103EX is the automaker's entry in the Vision Next 100 series from parent company, BMW.

Among luxury brands, few are more bound by tradition than Rolls-Royce, but you might find that hard to believe after catching a glimpse of the new 103EX. Part of the marque’s “Vision Next 100” plan for the future, the concept vehicle offers a glimpse of what an ultra-luxury vehicle might look like in the age of autonomous driving.

The Rolls-Royce 103EX is the latest in a series of unusually edgy prototypes the British maker has revealed in recent years, but it is timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Rolls’ German parent BMW – which has unveiled its own futuristic concept, as has sibling British brand Mini.

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“With the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 we were mindful not to dwell on the past,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, the brand’s CEO. “We wanted to be as innovative as possible and at the same time transcend the design history of the marque.” (more…)

Farewell to the Phantom, as Rolls-Royce Readies a New Flagship

All future models to be based on lightweight aluminum.

by on Feb.25, 2016

It's the end of the road for the Rolls-Royce Phantom, with a new flagship planned for 2018.

If you’ve been saving your pennies and now have enough to buy a Rolls-Royce Phantom, you better move fast. One of the world’s most luxurious automobiles — and, at a base price of $386,000, one of the most expensiveis about to go out of production.

The current version, anyway. But the Rolls Phantom isn’t going to vanish entirely. A new version of the sedan will make its debut in 2018, and it will mark some major changes at the British-based automaker. Helped by German parent BMW, Rolls-Royce intends to switch all future models, starting with the eighth-generation Phantom, from steel to lighter aluminum frames.

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The goal is to come up with a “contemporary and beautiful Phantom enhanced with cutting-edge technologies and design innovations,” explained Rolls CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes.

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Prepping for First SUV, Rolls-Royce Begins Testing New Aluminum Spaceframe

All new models, including Cullinan, will adopt new platform after 2018.

by on Jan.07, 2016

A teaser image from Rolls-Royce shows a mule being used to test the maker's new utility vehicle.

There has always been something a bit anachronistic about Rolls-Royce, retro if you prefer. The big grille, classic hood ornament and, oh, so much mass.

But Rolls is ready to go on a diet. Confirming earlier plans, the British maker now says it is already testing an all-new, aluminum spaceframe architecture that will serve as the basis for all new models, starting in 2018. Among the list of upcoming products to get the lightweight touch: the new off-roader that Rolls officials are referring to as Project Cullinan.

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Rolls-Royce has been moving to modernize itself, starting with the all-new factory it built in Goodwood, said Torsten Muller-Otvos, the marque’s CEO. “It is time to take the next step in the luxury journey.”

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A New Dawn for Rolls-Royce

British maker calls it the “sexiest Rolls-Royce ever built.”

by on Sep.08, 2015

The new Rolls-Royce Dawn shares only its door panels with the existing Wraith coupe.

Is this “the sexiest Rolls-Royce ever built”? Apparently, the British maker thinks so, and allowing one pun to slip in, this really may be a new Dawn for Rolls.

The new Rolls-Royce Dawn is aimed at bringing in a new, younger – but still extremely affluent – group of buyers. What they’ll get for their money is perhaps the most lavishly outfitted ragtop to ever hit the road, the top neatly stowing away beneath an electrically operated tonneau cover finished in open-pore wood.

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The $300,000 convertible – make that Drophead in Rolls lingo — shares its platform with the Ghost sedan and Wraith coupe, as well as the 6.6-liter V-12 engine that resides under its bonnet, or hood as we Yanks call it. That twin-turbo package punches out 563-horsepower, more than enough to put some wind in your hair on even the most calm of days.

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It’s Dawn at Rolls-Royce

New drophead will provide “erotic tingle” when it debuts in early 2016.

by on May.12, 2015

Rolls built only 28 Silver Dawns through 1954.

Some folks might call it recycling. For the venerable British automaker Rolls-Royce, it’s all about reaching back into its long and storied past. And that means the all-new convertible the maker plans to introduce early next year will be named Dawn.

First used on a Rolls model back in 1949, that nameplate ultimately graced just 28 special models produced through 1954. It was notable for being the first model for which the maker produced its own bodies, rather than turning to an outside coachbuilder.

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“Our new Rolls-Royce Dawn promises a striking, seductive encounter like no other Rolls-Royce to date,” said a breathless Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes, chief executive officer. “Dawn is a beautiful new open-top motor car with a name that suggests the fresh opportunities that every new day holds – an awakening, an opening up of one’s senses and a burst of sunshine. It will be the most social of super-luxury motor cars for those beautiful people who wish to bathe in the sunlight of the world’s social hotspots.” (more…)

Chinese Turn Car Clones into High Art

Copycat makers often outsell the originals.

by on Apr.24, 2015

No, that's not a $475,000 Rolls-Royce Phantom.

That may look, at first glance, like a vanity license plate on a Rolls-Royce Phantom, but take another glance and you might be in for a surprise. You’re actually looking at a Geely GE, a Chinese knock-off that has closely copied the classic Rolls grille and Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament – but which goes for a fraction of the original’s $475,000 price.

Automakers from around the world put their latest wares on display at this month’s Shanghai Motor Show. But a walk down the hall revealed that local Chinese automakers already had fresh copies of a number of the hottest products from the U.S., Europe, Japan and Korea.

We're No Clone!

While some picked up subtle styling cues and features, others blended attributes from several different models to create weird Franken-cars, like the Suzhou Eagle EV that was one part Porsche Cayman, with a face lifted from a Ferrari F12 Berlinetta and a battery-electric drivetrain to make things even weirder.

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BMW Group Rides Record Sales to Profit Highs

Maker enjoys fifth consecutive year of best-ever results.

by on Mar.12, 2015

BMW Chairman Norbert Reithofer, shown during the launch of the BMW i3 battery-car, said the i Series cars are doing well.

The BMW Group continued to chalk up record numbers in 2014 as the company achieved new highs for sales and profits for the fifth year in succession and anticipates more of the same in 2015.

Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, said the new records, included new highs for sales volume, revenues and group earnings. Group revenues increased 5.7% to 80.4 billion euros, or $85.4 billion, while profit before tax reached 8.7 billion euros, or $9.2 billion, and automotive segment margin on earnings before interest and taxes rose to 9.6%.

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The figures served to underscored BMW’s position as the world’s leading premium car company, he added.

In view of its attractive model range and the market launch of 15 new models or model revisions during the course of 2015, the BMW Group expects an increase in sales volume worldwide again in 2015, he said.

“We are targeting further sales volume growth worldwide in the current year and hence a new record level for deliveries,” Reithofer said. “We continued to perform well during the past year, achieving new highs for sales volume, revenues and group earnings.”

“Tailwinds caused by high customer demand for our vehicles worldwide are driving up sales volumes. Our Strategy Number ONE, which we regularly refine as we go forward, continues to contribute to our business performance.”

In line with its strategy of achieving a balanced distribution of worldwide sales, the BMW Group recorded sales volume growth in all major sales regions. The four largest sales markets for the BMW Group last year were China, US, Germany and Great Britain.

The BMW brand retained its leading position in the premium segment in 2014 by posting a new record sales volume figure. Sales climbed by 9.5% to 1,811,719 units, driven in particular by the excellent performances of the BMW 3, 4 and 5 Series and the BMW X5, each of which led the world market in its own segment.

Rolls Royce also had a record year, posting sales of more than 4,000 units for the first time, but Mini sales dropped 1% in 2014 as it prepared more model changes.

(BMW introduces new 2-Series…minivan. For more, Click Here.)

Reithofer also said BMW i electric vehicles are on the road to success, recording a total sales volume of 17,793 units in the year under report. Worldwide sales of the BMW i3 totaled 16,052 units, a large proportion of which arose during the second half of the year, following the model’s launch in various major markets, including the US. The BMW i8 achieved sales of 1,741 units since its market launch in summer 2014.

(Click Here for details about Mini’s new upscale model: the Countryman Park Lane.)

Overall, the revenues of the BMW group grew by 5.7% in 2014 and EBIT rose by 14.3% to 9.2 million euros thanks primarily to sales volume growth and a high-value model mix. Group profit before tax (increased by 10.3% and net income improved, also a new record high for the BMW Group.

(To see more about VW’s annual results and expectations for 2015, Click Here.)

Sales surpassed the 2-million mark for the first time in the BMW Group’s history, climbing by 7.9% to a total of 2,117,965 units.

Rolls-Royce Set to Build Luxury SUV

British maker set to join rival Bentley in off-road segment.

by on Feb.18, 2015

The Rolls-Royce badge will be adorning a new vehicle in the near future: an SUV.

You’re likely to think of a Rolls-Royce as the sort of stately machine that would be driven to the opera, or perhaps to a meeting of heads of state. But apparently there’s also a sub-set of ultra-premium car buyers who want the option to go off-roading while maintaining their luxury lifestyle.

Rolls confirmed long-rumored plans to add an SUV to its line-up. And lest you think it will be nothing more than a high-line soft-roader, you can expect something far more capable, stressed Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos and Chairman Peter Schwarzenbauer in an open letter released today.

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They don’t actually use the words, “sport-utility vehicle,” referring instead to a “high-bodied car with an all-aluminum architecture…that can cross any terrain.” If it acts like a duck, goes the old adage. (more…)

Rolls-Royce Expects Modest Growth Thanks to Bespoke Line

Executives expect customized models to comprise 100% of sales.

by on Feb.04, 2015

Rolls-Royce's new Phantom "Nighthawk" is expected to help the luxury automaker to grow its sales in 2015.

Fresh off another year of record sales, Rolls-Royce expects to see a modest increase in volume this year – largely due to its Bespoke program, which offers buyers an almost limitless range of customized options for the British brand’s models.

The popularity of customization is becoming a real selling point for luxury vehicle makers. In fact, BMW’s super luxury division thinks that the percentage of orders for customized, tailor-made cars will grow steadily closer to the 100% level in the coming years.

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Rolls has not only been adding more models to its line-up, but also offering unique, limited-edition variants – such as the Phantom Drophead Coupe Nighthawk it introduced in Phoenix this week. Said to be “inspired by stealth technology in modern aerospace development,” only nine Nighthawks will be produced. (more…)