2014 Rolls-Royce WraithEnlarge Photo
These are strange times for Rolls-Royce.
After decades of building traditional luxury cars that emphasized serenity over speed, Rolls has built a car, the Wraith, that can do 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. Now, it's mulling over an SUV and limited edition models with carbon fiber bodywork, Edmunds reports.
A Rolls-Royce SUV has been whispered about before and, while Rolls designers are reportedly doing some sketches, it is still a ways off. Rolls is reportedly concerned that such a vehicle would clash with its established image, which has nothing to do with "sport" or "utility," although an SUV could broaden Rolls' appeal.
Instead, Rolls may try something different.
In the past, many Rolls cars left the factory as bare chassis and were sent to outside coach builders for bodywork. Modern safety standards would probably preclude such a practice, but Rolls is considering using carbon fiber to change the outer skin of cars.
For Rolls, using carbon fiber is less about saving weight and more about ease of customization. While the material itself is expensive, it is cheaper to tool than steel or aluminum.
This would allow Rolls to produce new iterations of its core models, but in limited batches, keeping things exclusive.
Rolls' model could, strangely, be Lamborghini.
Could a similar strategy work for Rolls-Royce? At the very least, it will be easier to take seriously than an SUV.