A luxury car that looks like a boat where you can enjoy a picnic
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, which along with the larger luxury goods sector is strongly recovering from the fallout from the pandemic, has launched a “Boat Tail” automobile, custom-designed for just three ultra-wealthy customers.
With a stern resembling a yacht deck and opening up for alfresco dining, the opulent design of the Boat Tail also includes handcrafted aluminum panels and Swiss timepieces.
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Designed by Rolls’ Coachbuild unit, the blue-painted car was designed for three customers who drove its design, according to Rolls-Royce Motor Cars general manager Torsten Muller-Otvos.
“The client comes to us with an idea in mind, exactly what happened 100 years ago when clients ordered the bodies they wanted to see,” Muller-Otvos told AFP at the launch of the car this week at the company’s headquarters at Goodwood near Chichester in the south of England. .
“It is not us who define what the car should look like, it is really like in the past, that the customer defines what he wants to see,” he added.
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, owned by German automotive giant BMW, revived the art of bodywork in 2017 with the forerunner of Boat Tail “Sweptail”.
Speculation on Sweptail costing some $ 13 million was “pretty close,” Muller-Otvos confirmed, while reports suggest Boat Tail could cost double the price.
“We never talk about prices in agreement with our customers,” he stressed.
The launch of Boat Tail comes after Rolls achieved its highest first quarter sales in the brand’s history in 116 years.
Sales reached 1,380 cars on its models, including the Phantom and Ghost, up 62% from the same period last year before the pandemic began to take hold around the world.
“We have been massively affected by the pandemic,” recalled the German boss, noting that sales had fallen by about a quarter last year.
“This year’s production is fully booked. Demand continues to be very strong and not only driven by Asia. It is also driven strongly by the United States, by Europe.”
Muller-Otvos, who has run the company since 2010, described the overall picture of the entire luxury industry as “very promising” with “quite a bit of money to be spent” by the wealthy who followed the lockdowns .
“A lot of our customers have said that Covid has taught them that life can end easily tomorrow and now is the time to enjoy your life.”
He said the company plans to launch a new bodywork project every two years.
“It won’t be a big source of income for the group, but a very small addition to its model lineup,” noted automotive specialist Andrew Graves.
“They have been approached by some customers to offer this service, like other manufacturers of major brands,” the professor at the University of Bath told AFP.
The cars “may well be a reasonable investment for the customer” and “will be a talking point as a vanity purchase,” he added.
Besides its niche projects, Rolls is on track to have fully electric cars in the current decade, mirroring actions taken by the global auto industry under pressure from governments in the hope of meeting reduction targets. carbon emissions.
“It is clear in our program to further improve the durability of Rolls-Royce powered cars,” said Muller-Otvos.
With the support of parent group BMW, Rolls has successfully avoided the semiconductor shortages caused by the pandemic that are plaguing many automakers.
And fears that Brexit might disrupt British auto manufacturing have been allayed by Rolls chief executive.
Muller-Otvos said he was “extremely satisfied” with the last-minute trade deal between London and the European Union as the UK prepared to officially leave the bloc at the start of the year.
“It was great and for that reason we can easily export our products now, we can import parts.
“We haven’t seen any major disruption.”