Rolls Royce: “We could redefine SUV segment”
Rolls Royce has told TopGear.com that its decision on building an SUV has yet to be taken, but that should a RR SUV ever appear, it "may well redefine that kind of segment".
Speaking at the launch of the new Ghost Series II, RR's Andrew Boyle told us the company is still weighing up the pros and cons on introducing a super-luxury SUV model into the line-up.
"The SUV story has become a big story without needing to," Boyle said. "We're considering it, our design people are thinking about it and coming up with some ideas. But it needs to be right, and it needs to be a Rolls-Royce."
Boyle also dismissed the ‘SUV' tag. "Frankly, an SUV is probably a misnomer for this car, because RR is certainly not utility, so it's not going to be that kind of car. We're still looking at what might be right, what might be wrong."
That ‘wrong', of course, is whether an SUV is a happy fit for a Rolls-Royce badge. "Those people who say it's the wrong car for us, they might be right, they might be wrong," said Boyle. "Who knows, Rolls Royce regularly redefines what it does, so we may well redefine that kind of segment.
"We might just create something that people might not necessarily assume is an SUV," he added.
Bentley's much-vaunted SUV doesn't concern RR, said Boyle. "We don't work in the same segment. Rolls Royces are sold in the super luxury category, and anyway, we're not worried about what other companies do, it's always about what the Rolls Royce customer wants."
Boyle confirmed that RR's client base is "certainly interested" to see what the company comes up with. "We're very close to our customer base, on a one-to-one level, and so of course we discuss these things with them. Responses vary, but it's fair to say there's interest in the idea. If the customer wants such a vehicle and we think it's a vehicle that works for RR, then maybe we'll do it."
Even if the company did commit to an ‘SUV', it would still be a while off; RR recently announced a new Drophead model - likely a Wraith convertible - so this SUV will have to wait.
Otherwise it's business as usual: RR sells roughly three to four Ghosts for every Phantom - which continues to "perform really well around the world", according to Boyle.
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But tell us, could you make an argument for a super luxury Rolls Royce SUV? Would it work for a company like Rolls?