This article is about the manufacturer of Rolls-Royce automobiles since 1999, currently a BMW subsidiary. Its predecessors include: Rolls-Royce Limited and Rolls-Royce Motors.
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited
Type Subsidiary
Founded March 1998 (Predecessor: Rolls-Royce Limited 1904)
Founder(s) Henry Royce
Charles Stewart Rolls
Headquarters Goodwood, Sussex, United Kingdom
Key people Ian Robertson, Chairman
Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO
Industry Automotive
Products Automobiles
Revenue (turnover) $280m
Net income $28m
Employees 1500
Parent BMW

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is a British manufacturer of luxury automobiles based at the Goodwood plant in West Sussex, England. It is the current producer of Rolls-Royce branded automobiles, whose historical production dates back to 1904. The factory is located across from the historic Goodwood Circuit in Goodwood, West Sussex, England. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of BMW of Germany.

History Edit

The history Rolls-Royce began as Rolls-Royce Limited which started manufacturing cars in 1903. The factory at Goodwood is the fifth Rolls-Royce UK based automobile production facility since 1904. The previous four were located in Manchester, London, Derby, and Crewe.

The characteristic RR badge on the front of the grill changed from red to black in 1934 upon the death in 1933 of Henry Royce. The Phantom III of 1934 was the first Rolls Royce to display the black badge, being the first car without input from Mr. Royce.

Previous iterations of the company include Rolls-Royce Limited and Rolls-Royce Motors.

In 1998, the then owners Vickers decided to sell Rolls-Royce Motors. The most likely buyer was BMW, who already supplied engines and other components for Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars, but BMW's final offer of £340m was beaten by Volkswagen's £430m.

A stipulation in the ownership documents of Rolls-Royce dictated that Rolls-Royce plc, the aero-engine maker would retain certain essential trademarks (the Rolls-Royce name and logo) if the automotive division was sold. Rolls-Royce plc chose to license not to VW but to BMW, with whom it had recently had joint business ventures. VW had bought rights to the "Spirit of Ecstasy" bonnet (hood) ornament and the shape of the radiator grille, but it lacked rights to the Rolls-Royce name necessary to build the cars. Likewise, BMW lacked rights to the grille and mascot. BMW bought an option on the trademarks, licensing the name and "RR" logo for £40m, a deal that many commentators thought was a bargain for possibly the most valuable property in the deal. VW claimed that it had only really wanted Bentley anyway.

BMW and VW arrived at a solution. From 1998 to 2002 BMW would continue to supply engines for the cars and would allow use of the names by VW, but this would cease on 1 January 2003. From that date, only BMW would be able to name cars "Rolls-Royce", and VW's former Rolls-Royce/Bentley division would build only cars called "Bentley." This resulted in 2003 BMW opening a new manufacturing plant on the Goodwood Estate close to Chichester, West Sussex.

Cars Edit

Peninsula Hong Kong RR Phantom

Rolls-Royce Phantom Extended Wheelbase in use at the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong


1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II

  • 2003+ Phantom (saloon)—Launched in January 2003 at Detroit's North American International Auto Show, this is the first model from Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited, a BMW Group subsidiary having no corporate connection with the previous Rolls-Royce Motors company apart from the trademarks mentioned above.

The car has a 6.75 L V12 engine sourced from BMW, but most other components are unique to the car. Parts are sourced from Continental Europe and the UK. Assembly, leather work, wood work, and finishing is carried out in a new factory in Goodwood near Chichester, Sussex. The cars are available in normal and extended wheelbase, and prices start at about £250,000.

  • 2010+ Ghost (saloon)—Rolls Royce announced in September 2006 that it will develop a new four-door model named Ghost. The Ghost will be smaller than the previous Rolls Royce automobile launched, the Phantom. Some 20% of the components would be sourced from BMW F01 7 Series, and it will be positioned below the Phantom and with a price range between US$250,000 and US$280,000.[1]

For earlier models, see the List of Rolls-Royce motor cars and the timeline below.

Prototypes Edit


The marque's all time record of sales was achieved in 1978, at 3,357 cars.[6]

Calendar Year Total Sales
2005 [7] 796
2006 [7] 805
2007 [8] 1,010
2008 [9] 1,212
2009 [9] 1,002
2010 [9] 2,711

See also Edit

References Edit

Further reading Edit

  • Richard Feast, Kidnap of the Flying Lady: How Germany Captured Both Rolls Royce and Bentley, Motorbooks, ISBN-7603-1686-4
  • John Rowland and Martin Henley, The Rolls-Royce Men the Story of Charles Rolls and Henry Royce, Publisher: Lutterworth Press (1968); ASIN: B000COH9WQ

External links Edit

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