From autoblog: Rolls-Royce may have just recorded its fifth consecutive record year of sales, but it’s in no rush to decide on whether it’ll produce an SUV before the end of 2015.
The market for high-end luxury SUVs continues to climb, but Rolls-Royce is in no huge rush to jump on the leather-clad, high-riding bandwagon. The company has just announced a new sales record for the fifth year running, with over 4,000 units delivered in 2014. But it recognizes that SUVs are where the market is going, so it’s going to carefully weigh its options, and make a decision on how to proceed by the end of 2015.
This according to Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös in speaking with Auto Express. “There is not yet a final decision, because we still need to answer a couple of questions ourselves,” said Müller-Ötvös in regard to a potential SUV, admitting, “You need to move the brand from time to time, you need to go with the flow. We might even see in a few years that the classical sedan segments are shrinking due to the fact that SUV type vehicles are growing. So if you don’t change your product portfolio to something that is up to date then at some point in time you might even die.”
If the storied Goodwood-based marque does proceed with an SUV, it would be following former sister-company Bentley into the segment. But they’re not the only ones. Mercedes is said to be preparing a Maybach version of the next GL-Class, Jaguar Land Rover keeps making increasingly expensive and luxurious Range Rovers, and Maserati is preparing to launch its Levante crossover.
The prospect of an SUV isn’t the only project Rolls-Royce has in the works, though. It’s got a convertible version of the Wraith coming soon, and sooner or later there will be a replacement for the thirteen-year-old Phantom saloon, potentially to include some carbon fiber in its construction to help trim weight. A hybrid powertrain could be in the mix as well, though customers have shunned the idea of a pure electric model. Just don’t expect a Rolls-Royce more accessible than the Ghost: the company is glad to be growing its sales, but is not chasing any specific sales targets that would press it to cheapen the brand by going down-market.