In a move which may upset more traditional fans of the historic carmaker, Rolls-Royce has announced plans to build its first ever SUV.
The move marks a foray into uncharted territory for the brand. The new vehicle will not just be any SUV, but will also be capable of going off road, or “able to cross any terrain,” as Rolls-Royce says. Traditionalists may be placated by the fact that the markers of brand identity will be maintained, up to and including the Spirit of Ecstasy statue on the hood, writes Chris Woodyard of USA Today.
The new vehicle was confirmed in an open letter written by Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Muller-Ötvos, in which he never mentions the acronym SUV. Instead he writes of “a high-bodied car with an all-aluminum architecture,” which company officials later confirmed could reasonably be called an SUV, but certainly not a truck.
Mystery continues to shroud the vehicle, and it is thought that it is years away from delivery. That said, a possible name has already been floated: the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, after the biggest diamond ever found.
Fellow luxury carmakers Bentley and Jaguar have both recently announced their first SUVs, which may be why Rolls-Royce has now announced its own new model, although it is steadfastly refusing to call it an SUV. The Bentley Bentayga and the Jaguar F-Pace will potentially be the main rivals for Rolls-Royce in what is set to be a fascinating battle for the luxury SUV market.
A new foray for the brand
The Rolls-Royce range currently features three cars: the Phantom sedan, the marginally smaller Ghost, and the Wraith fastback.
“Now we have reached another seminal moment in Rolls-Royce’s 111-year journey,” writes Muller-Otvos. He claimed that the new vehicle would maintain the “pioneering, adventurous spirit” with which the brand was founded, while combining it with “effortless luxury.”
While it may still be years until people can drive a Rolls-Royce “high-bodied car,” at least it gives us time to practice calling it as such so as not to confuse it with the humble SUVs which other brands make.