Luxury carmaker Rolls-Royce has said that it will continue to use German-built V12 engines rather than invest in a British assembly line, unlike rival Bentley, which is boosting local production of W12 engines.
Frank Ludwig, production head at Rolls' Goodwood plant, said: “To make engines, you need a lot of expertise and at the moment, the best place to source the V12 is from Germany.”
With the introduction of the Wraith coupé, Rolls-Royce increased car output last year to about 3,300 units, a number that makes Goodwood the biggest user of V12 engines in the BMW group.
Despite this growth in production at Goodwood, Ludwig said the industrial logic of building engines in Germany remains unchanged because the development of 'V' engines needs to be concentrated in one place to ensure that maximum learning can be applied to design and development.
Rolls shares the basic hardware of the BMW V engines. However, the bulk of the parts in the 6.8-litre naturally-aspirated V12 in the Phantom and 6.6-litre twin-turbo engine in the Ghost and Wraith are unique. They are developed alongside BMW versions, allowing learning to cross-pollinate from the mainstream development programme to Rolls’ lower production-volume units.
Because Rolls’ Goodwood site is already pushing the perimeter of the land area available, there are also practical limits to adding more facilities to the site to cope with both production and development.
Bentley aims to build about 9,000 W12 engines by 2017-2018 for the whole Volkswagen Group, up from around 5,000 units historically.