An open letter from the Chairman and the Chief Executive of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars on the subject of a new Rolls-Royce
Wednesday, 18 February 2015
The big just get bigger
As Rolls-Royce unveils its 4x4 off-road luxury car Mercedes-Benz lifts the veil on its latest version of the legendary 600 Pullman saloon.
In the UK, Rolls-Royce has given the green light to its first 4x4 luxury car that will be made at the company’s facility in Goodwood.
The luxury car maker has confirmed it is making its first sport utility vehicle (SUV), which would offer "the luxury of a Rolls-Royce in a vehicle that can cross any terrain", according to the company.
The firm has not labelled the vehicle as an SUV, but is calling it an 'Everywhere Vehicle'. The new vehicle will be a "high-bodied car, with an all-new aluminium architecture", according to a letter from top executives. (See full text of letter at the end of this news item.)
This suggests the company will embark on new metal-joining techniques in the manner that JaguarLandRover has done with its XE and other models yet to be unveiled. In this regard rolls-Royce's new technology and Logistics Centre could have a role to play. Due to be opened next year, the new centre in nearby Bognor Regis will cover some 30,000 square metres and will house 200 new and existing technology and logistics functions. It is also expected that manufacturing and materials engineers within BMW will also have a role to play in helping to evaluate and identify 'new' cost-benefit materials-joining techologies.
Rolls-Royce, owned by BMW, will begin making the new car at its plant near Chichester, UK within three years.
The company is seeking to capitalise on the growing market for luxury cars, including sports utility vehicles in markets such as the Middle East, China and the US.
Sales of Rolls-Royce cars have risen five-fold under BMW’s stewardship – the company was formerly owned by Vickers. In 1980 Vickers acquired Rolls-Royce Motors but then in 1998 Vickers sold Cosworth and Rolls-Royce Motor Car (effectively Bentley) to the Volkswagen Group. Cosworth became part of Audi. However, the license of the Rolls-Royce marque was a complicated matter with Rolls-Royce plc selling the rights to BMW AG.
Last year, sales of Rolls-Royce cars rose 13 per cent in the UK, 40 per cent in Europe, 30 per cent in the US and 20 per cent in the Middle East.
Meanwhile, the 50th birthday of what Mercedes-Benz hails as “the best-known Pullman saloon of them all”, the Mercedes-Benz 600, is set to coincide with a special debut at the Geneva Motor Show: the launch of the new Pullman.
The original royal blue 600 was launched at the 1965 Frankfurt Motor Show.
Mercedes-Maybach's second model will assume the top-of-the-range position, with vis-à-vis seating in the passenger compartment and high-end automotive luxury that is traditionally associated with Maybach.
Its length of 6.5 m is an indication of the status of the Mercedes-Maybach Pullman. It provides space for a generously-sized and tastefully-appointed club lounge in the rear, which has a multitude of creature comforts fitted as standard.
According to Mercedes, this chauffeur-driven limousine is more than equal to today's demands for the ultimate in exclusivity and luxury. The VIP occupants sit on two standard-specification executive seats facing the direction of travel. They can enjoy the greatest legroom in the segment; and can get into and out of the car with the greatest of ease and comfort.
As is typical for a Pullman, the four passengers can sit facing each other in the compartment with an electrically-operated partition window. The prices for unarmoured models start at around half a million euros; the first customers will be taking delivery of their vehicles, which of course offer unrivalled scope for individualisation, at the beginning of 2016.
With a length of 6499 mm, the Pullman is 1053 mm longer than the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class. The wheelbase is an impressive 4418 mm. Furthermore, at 1598 mm in height, the Pullman is more than 100 mm higher than a Mercedes S-Class, resulting in a tangible increase in headroom.
The Mercedes-Maybach Pullman S 600 is powered by a 6-litre V12 biturbo engine with an output of 530bhp. Maximum torque of 830 Nm is available from 1900 rev/min.
The name Pullman originally applied to railway carriages with luxurious open-plan compartments manufactured by the American Pullman Palace Car Company. This name was soon also applied to the motor cars from Mercedes-Benz which were based on an extremely long wheelbase and offered a very generously-sized passenger compartment. In the rear, separated from the driver's area by a partition, there was space for four passengers to recline regally in four single seats facing each other.
Three special-design examples of the model 300 in Pullman dimensions, referred to in the vernacular as the "Adenauer Mercedes", were made in 1960. And following on from the W 100 model series, in subsequent years there were Pullman versions of the S-Class 109 and 126 model series (special production) as well as the 140 and 220 (both standard production).
Open letter from Rolls-Royce