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Rolls-Royce confirms “everywhere vehicle”

Failure to proceed: Just to prove that Rolls-Royces are not all strictly bitumen huggers, Rolls-Royce released this 2013 photo of an adventurer negotiating a snowy Alpine pass.

All-new aluminium platform engineered in house for Rolls-Royce’s first offroader

18 Feb 2015

ROLLS-ROYCE – the company that has always forged its own path – will not build an SUV like any ordinary car company. Instead, it announced today that it intends to launch “an everywhere vehicle”.

The long-awaited confirmation for the ultra-luxury high-bodied all-wheel-drive dune-basher came in a joint announcement from Rolls-Royce Motor Cars chairman Peter Schwarzenbauer and CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes.

And if you think the rival for Bentley’s upcoming Bentayga will be a jacked up Phantom, Ghost or Wraith or built on a platform borrowed from parent company BMW, think again: it will be fashioned on an all-new aluminium architecture now under design in-house at Rolls-Royce.

But don’t rush down to your Rolls-Royce dealer with your chequebook just yet – the company says it plans to take its time “to develop and perfect this new concept in luxury”.

“This new Rolls-Royce will be effortless ... everywhere,” the top executives said in their open letter from Rolls-Royce headquarters in Goodwood, England.

The 111-year-old car-maker has some big goals for the unnamed vehicle, saying it will be “a car that offers the luxury of a Rolls-Royce in a vehicle that can cross any terrain”.

50 center imageLeft: Rolls-Royce chairman Peter Schwarzenbauer. The company points to a long history of rough-terrain driving in Rolls-Royces, even pointing that British army hero Lawrence of Arabia used a Roller to cross the desert in World War 1.

“In other parts of the world including Australia, India and the Americas, Rolls-Royces carried their owners over challenging terrain with absolute reliability and comfort,” it said. “History sets our precedent and our future calls us to action.” Rolls-Royce said “many discerning customers” had urged it to build this car. “We have listened,” it said.

It says it will involve customers in the development process, and even issue progress reports – a rarity in the super-secretive world of automotive engineering and design.

However, as Mr Mueller-Oetvoes told GoAuto on a visit to Australia last year, design sketches had already been done at that time.

The “everywhere vehicle” will follow in the wheeltracks of the flagship Phantom that, according to Rolls-Royce, set a new benchmark for motoring when it was launched 12 years ago.

No powertrain or dimensions have been foreshadowed for the new vehicle, nor an expected showroom release date.

Rival Bentley’s Bentayga – named after a mountain on Spain’s Gran Canria island – is set to be unveiled later this year ahead of a 2016 launch date, with the Volkswagen-owned company promising the SUV will be “the fastest, it will be the most luxurious and it will be the most exclusive SUV in the world”.

That car is believed to ride on a platform from Volkswagen Group.

Rolls-Royce has decided to do it the hard way by making its own vehicle from the ground up.

“Rest assured, we are creating a motor car in the greatest traditions of our marque,” Rolls-Royce's bosses said in their letter. “Sir Henry Royce famously said: ‘When it does not exist, design it’. We are doing just that.”

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