The electric Rolls Royce: Luxury firm plans eco-friendly vehicle as sales see 171% rise
By RAY MASSEY
Last updated at 4:59 PM on 10th January 2011
Last updated at 4:59 PM on 10th January 2011
Rolls-Royce confirmed today it is considering an electric-powered limousine as a boom in wealthy women buyers like Cheryl Cole helped spark a 171 per cent rise in sales of its luxury cars - despite the economic downturn.
A super-green car for the super-rich could be on the road in time for the 2012 Olympics where parent company BMW will be showcasing its ground-breaking electric and environmentally-friendly technology to the world.
And a zero-emissions rechargeable Royce would be far more frugal than the gas-guzzling 15 miles to the gallon which its flagship £300,000 Phantoms currently manages.
Confirmed: Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes, CEO of Rolls Royce, told the Daily Mail before Christmas that an electric or alternatively-fuelled model would be a ‘good idea’
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars chief executive Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes has confirmed that ‘all options’ for alternatively-fuelled vehicles were being considered and that nothing was ruled out.
There has been intense speculation over the last two years that Rolls-Royce was planning a top secret electric Rolls-Royce.
Mr Mueller-Oetvoes increased that speculation when he told the Daily Mail before Christmas that an electric or alternatively-fuelled ‘experimental’ Rolls-Royce model would be a ‘good idea.’
Rolls-Royce is owned by German car giant BMW which has won the deal to supply 4,000 ‘green’ cars for the London 2012 Olympics. BMW also owns British-based MINI which has launched an electric powered MINI-E which can be re-charged from the mains.
With the world’s eyes watching the 2012 Olympics - where parent company BMW will be showing off their low-emissions cars to ferry 80,000 VIPs to and from venues - it could be the perfect opportunity to showcase just such a vehicle running on electric power, or even a fuel-cell.
British gangster movie director Guy Ritchie, former husband of Madonna, took delivery of one before Christmas
Mr Mueller-Oetvoes said: 'We are not going to make any rash decisions. It would be wrong for the brand and wrong for our customers if we were to take a decision without fully exploring all options.'
Traditionally, Rolls-Royce has produced one-off ‘experimental’ models to showcase to potential the luxury car company’s latest technological advances. When the Daily Mail pressed Mr Mueller-Oetvoes before Christmas that a super-green electric Rolls-Royce using the latest in environmentally-friendly technology for the super-rich with a conscience would make an ideal new ‘experimental’ model, he acknowledged it would be a ‘good idea’.
He was speaking as Rolls-Royce announced record annual car sales in 2010 - up 171per cent on 2009 and more than double the previous record of 1,212 cars set in 2008. In 2009 the company sold 1,002 cars.
The USA remained the biggest single market for Rolls-Royce in 2010, followed by China and the UK with all areas showing ‘significant growth’, particularly in Asia Pacific, the USA and the Middle East.
Wealthy women, like Paris Hilton pictured test driving a Roller, buying the smaller ‘baby’ Rolls-Royce Ghost models are fuelling the boom in sales from the company’s hi-tech factory
Wealthy women buying the smaller ‘baby’ Rolls-Royce Ghost models are fuelling the boom in sales from the company’s hi-tech factory is in the grounds of the Earl of March’s Goodwood estate.
Pop star and Geordie X-factor judge Cheryl Cole has one of the £196,000 cars, and British gangster movie director Guy Ritchie, former husband of Madonna, took delivery of one before Christmas.
The company sells about three Ghosts to every one Phantom. Mr Mueller-Oetvoes told the Daily Mail that women are attracted to the car’s ‘masculinity’ and now account for up to 10 per cent of sales of the Ghost, a more compact and ‘less formal’ Royce saloon than the massive £300,000 Phantom.
'Women love their Ghosts. But they are not buying a car for women. Rolls-Royce is a male brand. And women like that. It’s a nice masculine car. ‘
But female customers do like to customise their interiors with a more feminine choice of colours and detailing, leathers and stitching, he said.
Although sales are bucking the economic gloom, the Rolls-Royce boss did admit that colour schemes are more in tune with the downbeat mood, with a shift from ‘bling’ to more subtle interior shades: There’s a degree of sobriety.'
A sporty coupe and an open-topped drop-head coupe version of the Ghost are expected to follow.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/motoring/article-1345841/The-electric-Rolls-Royce-Luxury-firm-plans-eco-friendly-vehicle-sales-171-cent-rise.html#ixzz1AfCHi7aN