It is an iconic English brand but, without the Germans, it would probably no longer exist or would have been the prey of Chinese businessmen. Fortunately, Rolls-Royce has retained most of its English genes, even if, rationality requires, it is mechanics from Munich that have slipped under its endless hood. Thanks to BMW who had the idea to buy it back in 1998, four years after acquiring Mini, one of the most emblematic brands in the automotive world is still alive, despite the Covid which has not. more spared than other manufacturers, on a reputation.
But this can interfere with the headbands, as it is synonymous with crowned heads and official processions. Coupes and convertibles first dusted off this overly stiff image, putting self-driving Rolls-Royces on the road. Not without real success since more than 5,000 cars were sold last year. A second attempt was launched with the Cullinan 4×4, a priori poles apart from use off paved roads. Unless we remember that hunting, fishing, golfing and launching a boat towed on a trailer or horses in a Van are all jobs previously delegated by Rolls-Royce owners to a Range Rover.
Read also “Rolls-Royce Cullinan: monumental! "
This is now the third building block for rejuvenation, a new version of the Ghost sedan which, launched on Tuesday, could help it overcome the Covid-19 slump. It is a question of widening the clientele, in particular with these recent fortunes born of new technologies, a profile very different from the well-born clientele, but which appreciates to display – this is not the case in France – its success.
A ticket for 300,000 euros
Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös, who expects a lasting crisis from Covid-19, nevertheless forecasts a return to normal “within three years” with 2021 coming out of the crisis .
"We have massively rejuvenated the brand over the past ten years and the average age of our customers is 43 years" he assures (overall average in France, 56 years old Editor's note) the new economy making multimillionaires or billionaires all fresh, able to pay a minimum of 250,000 euros excluding tax for the newcomer. At this starting price, excluding options that quickly make the entry ticket fly by 20 or 30%, a Ghost already has the original BMW V12 twin-turbo, a mechanical factor rather likely to reassure them. But we can afford absolutely everything we could wish for, up to the most exclusive colors and finishes or, for example, this luminous roof sky reproducing the celestial vault at the time of your birth.
Rolling your head in the stars is a prerequisite for Rolls-Royce enthusiasts, but they can pout when examining the car. At first glance, it is hardly different from the previous one, but appearances should not be trusted, they are deceptive. Even if its imposing grille is lit by twenty LEDs and its laser headlights reach 600 meters, the architecture formerly borrowed from the Series 7 is very different. According to Mr Torsten Müller-Ötvös, only the umbrellas slipped into the thickness of the doors and the Flying Lady are identical.
Not exactly a sylph
Based on the same aluminum platform as the new Phantom and Cullinan, the Ghost is 9cm longer (5.55m) and 3cm wider (1.98m). Not exactly a sylph. Above all, it refocuses its engine to obtain an ideal weight distribution and adopts the all-wheel drive which is such an excellent household with the air suspensions on the Cullinan (see our test). We can already predict, with the 571 hp and 850 Nm of the engine and the 0 to 100 km / h announced in 4.8 s, behavior at least as exemplary as on the 4×4, whose center of gravity is higher.
What revive the motivation of buyers, of whom, due to the closures of dealers due to containment, 30% probably abstained while, for the United Kingdom alone, Brexit was already a serious pitfall. We are therefore waiting for a boost with the release of the Ghost to relaunch the second production line at the Goodwood plant in the south of the United Kingdom, a pledge of job retention.
But the Rolls-Royce boss's most serious fear is a disrupted supply chain, with the luxury car maker relying on 600 suppliers around the world. And an exit from Brexit without an agreement would be very damaging for Rolls-Royce as for the entire automotive industry. Except that Rolls-Royce needs above all the label “made in Great Britain”, a concern that it shares with Mini, Jaguar, Aston Martin and Land Rover.