If last month’s sales numbers
are any indication, consumers are again flocking to small and fuel efficient cars. As fuel prices climb ever skyward, automotive downsizing is seen as a sensible way to stretch the family budget.
At least one demographic of car buyers is bucking this trend, shooting down a prototype electric car and insisting that engines aren’t downsized. That brand is ultra-luxury maker Rolls-Royce, whose buyers have come to expect a certain level of both performance and prestige from their motor cars.Automotive News
(subscription required) quotes Rolls CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes as saying, “Customers tell us, ‘Do not mess with the 12-cylinder engine.’ It is their Holy Grail, and they love it.”
On the other hand, Rolls-Royce owners didn’t love the 102EX electric Phantom concept
, which was previewed by the company in 2011. Over 500 customers viewed the car, and the majority felt that an eight-hour charge time and a range of 120 miles were unacceptable. Plans to put the car into production were scrapped based upon negative consumer feedback
That’s not to say that Rolls-Royce is ignoring the issue of fuel economy. Mueller-Oetvoes clarified that, “I can imagine something that combines electric and combustion engines, like a plug-in hybrid. We do not yet have any plans in our hands, but it is something we are currently looking into.”
While change may come to Goodwood-based brand, don’t expect that change to be sudden. Above all else, Rolls-Royce buyers want tradition over technology.