Rolls-Royce may join Range Rover (and probably Bentley) in the luxury SUV market.
Speaking at the annual results presentation of parent company BMW, Ian Robertson, the former boss of Rolls Royce and now BMW Sales and Marketing Director, suggested that Rolls-Royce was looking at new models.
According to industry website, www.just-auto.com, he hinted that an SUV would be one possibility. He was too diplomatic to say if he had been encouraged by the pasting the Bentley EXP 9 F concept received at Geneva – one wag suggested the Bentley was to SUVs what the Maybach had been to limousines.
A Rolls-Royce SUV does make a lot of sense. The Range Rover has moved away from its roots and is now the UK's biggest selling luxury car. Rolls Royces are positioned a class above the likes of the Mercedes S-Class as a super-luxury car, but that misses an opportunity if the luxury segment has moved to SUVs.
Rolls-Royce can easily shut up any traditionalists who say an SUV is not in the spirit of the marque. During the First World War, the Silver Ghost chassis was used by the military for all sorts of armoured vehicles, because it was so durable and reliable, and Rolls-Royce went on to design the V12 Meteor tank engine built from the Second World War until the 1960s. Hence it has off-road connections that predate even Jeep.