Rolls-Royce believes coachbuilt one-offs like the $12.8 million Sweptail it unveiled at the 2017 Concorso d’Eleganza are the future of luxury.
While the century-old British brand is open to building more bespoke models in the future, it’s unlikely to repeat the level of involvement it granted the Sweptail’s unnamed owner, instead, Rolls wants to find suitable buyers for its creations post-completion.
“We will probably never repeat the level of involvement we had with a customer for this car ever again, not because we don’t want to, but because it’s always fraught with risk that someone may misinterpret the end goal. It’s a risk you might end up with something that doesn’t fit the brand, or suit the customer, ” said Rolls-Royce’s director of design, Giles Taylor in an interview with Autocar.
“We may pro-actively offer coachbuilt cars in the future, where we create the project and then sell the one-off nature to a customer. That’s an idea, not a plan, but it’s something we could do.”
Should Rolls move forward with the idea there are other challenges that exist outside of clientele involvement, like the extra personnel necessary to hand sculpt bodywork, and ensuring coachbuilt cars still adhere to safety regulations.
For Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Otvös, it’s a no-brainer to move towards a bespoke business model.
“I think the future for luxury in the long-term is to go even more bespoke, and for that reason, it’s kind of a logical path, but it’s not yet understood in which dimension we will do it. There is a market, that’s for sure.”
Müller-Otvös does think Rolls-Royce transition to a new aluminum spaceframe architecture could make it easier for the company to execute more one-off projects, but stressed that he doesn’t want to overpromise or underdeliver.
“We are not here in the car business, we are in the luxury goods business. Nobody needs our products to go from A to B.”
For the clientele of a storied luxury brand like Rolls-Royce, the uniqueness of the experience counts for almost as much as the product itself, with buyers eager to inject their own stories into the product the idea could become reality sooner than expected.
“I wouldn’t be surprised to have a couple of my customers knocking on my door on Monday and saying ‘I want one’.”