British super luxury car maker Rolls-Royce on Wednesday said it has started developing a high-bodied luxury car that is capable of handling any terrain but stopped short of calling it a sports utility vehicle (SUV).
Rolls-Royce, which is owned by German automaker BMW, said the new vehicle would be its most important product since the introduction of Phantom in 2003.
“We will announce what we are calling this new motor car closer to the time of its launch. I wouldn’t call it an SUV as Rolls-Royce is neither sport nor utility. The words ‘sport’ and ‘utility’ do not fit comfortably into the marque’s very special brand promise,” said Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes, chief executive, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
The new car, still on the drawing boards, is unlikely to be launched before 2018. It wasn’t immediately clear how much it would cost. RollsRoyce’s three existing models – Phantom, Ghost Series 2 and Wraith – cost between Rs 4.5 crore and Rs 9 crore in India.
“This new model will deliver presence, elegance and purpose wherever its owners choose to be in the world. It will offer the luxury of a Rolls-Royce in a vehicle that can cross any terrain and one that meets our customers’ highly mobile, contemporary lifestyle expectations,” Oetvoes added.
Several luxury and supercar car makers, including arch rival Bentley, Lamborghini and Maserati, have in recent times started developing SUVs.
The trend of super luxury car makers that otherwise only built super cars or super sports cars venturing into SUVs started when Porsche launched the Cayenne in 2002. Its success led to the introduction of another smaller SUV Macan last year.
Lured by the greater demand for all terrain vehicles around the world, a number of automakers like Rolls-Royce are following suit though it may leave the puritan auto lover disappointed.