Rolls-Royce wants to get back to building small-volume cars with unique exteriors


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Good news, captains of industry tired of seeing the same old Rolls-Royce models: The Anglo-Germanic automaker is planning more ultra-low-volume models, Britain’s Autocar reports, citing design chief Giles Taylor. Rolls-Royce plans to produce limited runs of all-new designs, following the warm reception that the one-off Sweptail sedan received last year.

The automaker’s turn to bespoke exteriors marks a departure from an established course under the ownership of BMW, which has avoided low-volume runs with bespoke bodywork. The brand’s focus has been on creating bespoke, themed interiors, offering them in batches of a dozen cars or more. The automaker has been reluctant to produce small runs of cars with unique exterior bodywork due to the expense of meeting crash safety and type approval standards in most markets, as well as the staffing needed for small-volume projects.

But the problem of having the craftspeople and the time to produce unique exteriors could be solved with 3-D printing, Autocar notes, citing comments by Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos.








Unique, hand-beaten bodywork offers clients something far more exclusive than simply owning another Rolls-Royce that’s, you know, just like their friends’ cars.

“It’s the future of luxury,” Taylor told Autocar. “People don’t want something others can get. They want something very unique. We’ve invested quite a lot in this. Bespoke is very important — without it, we wouldn’t sell as many cars.”

The Sweptail was the marque’s most recent one-off, unveiled last May at Villa d’Este. A commission by an undisclosed buyer, the Sweptail was a nod to the car designs of the 1920s with a “swept-up” rear end, giving the large coupe a more marine look.

“Sweptail is a truly magnificent car. It exudes the romance of travel for its own sake and immediately places ‘Sweptail’ in the pantheon of the world’s great intercontinental tourers,” Muller-Otvos, chief executive officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said at the time. “We are listening carefully to our most special customers and assessing their interest in investing in similar, completely exclusive coachbuilt masterpieces. At the same time, we are looking into the resources which will allow us to offer this unique service to these discerning patrons of luxury.”


2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan



While Rolls-Royce has created one-off projects such as the Sweptail in response to customer requests, future plans envision limited runs in the low single digits, according to Autocar.

Even when the Sweptail debuted last year, Taylor was cautious about such one-offs, telling Autocar that Rolls-Royce may never do a one-off for a customer due to the risk of a given car not being a good fit for the brand or the customer at the end of the day.

Still, even if Rolls-Royce can’t produce your dream chariot, there are still a number of coachbuilders and armorers out there that have produced one-offs from time to time, mostly for customers looking for more steel plates inside their doors and thicker glass all around.








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