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The Amazing Rebirth Of Rolls-Royce

By raccars Published

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It has always been one of the best known and most revered names in motoring, but there was a time when its name was all the company had. In 1998, the British luxury car firm, Rolls-Royce, was on its very last legs, without a manufacturing plant, without any employees and without cars. The VW Group picked up the company with Bentley from Vickers, which included the famous Crewe factory and the legendary mascot, the 'Spirit of Ecstasy.' However, the Rolls-Royce brand name and logo were not part of the deal. In a familiar story, BMW rode in on its white horse and paid £50 million for the Rolls-Royce name. After a few years of corporate wrangling with the VW Group, BMW began to manufacture an all new set of Rolls-Royce models from 2003.

Today, Rolls-Royce is once again at the top of the luxury car pile, with a cutting edge manufacturing facility in Goodwood, a well trained workforce of 1,500 and an enviable model line-up, achieving 4,063 unit sales last year. Two new cars are set to join the Rolls-Royce roster, a convertible Dawn model and, in a ground-breaking move for the firm, an SUV.

Not only has Rolls-Royce repaid BMW's interest, it has surpassed all its parent company's expectations and is demonstrating record performance, without compromising the brand's history and brand image. Perhaps most amazing of all is how the management team has made the venerable brand appeal to a younger, cooler and more modern demographic. Where the average age of a Rolls-Royce buyer used to be 53, it has now dropped to 45, and the firm has even sold one of its luxury models to a 28 year old.

The firm's management maintains that the excellence of its Goodwood plant and the work done there is the key to its new found success, and is firm on the importance of remaining thoroughly British, in both spirit and location for future endeavours. A Rolls-Royce Technology and Logistics Centre is due to open in Bognor Regis next year, part of the £200 million investment programme which has turned the company around.

While the Goodwood plant is state of the art by contrast, Rolls-Royce insists on retaining the same hand crafted production methods it has always used. Everything about the process is traditional, from the practice of taking a young workforce through old fashioned apprenticeship programmes to the detailed wood craftsmanship, that means every single car completed at Goodwood is a piece of art.

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