Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited
FoundedMarch 1998; 24 years ago (1998-03) in the United Kingdom
Goodwood, West Sussex, England
United Kingdom
Area served
Key people
Torsten Müller-Ötvös
Henry Cloke
(Chief​ Design​ Officer)
Jonathan Simms
(Lead Engineer)[1][2]
Peter Schwarzenbauer
ServicesAutomobile customisation
Number of employees
1,300 (2014)

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited is a British luxury automobile maker. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited operates from purpose-built administrative and production facilities opened in 2003 across from the historic Goodwood Circuit in Goodwood, West Sussex, England, United Kingdom. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited is the exclusive manufacturer of Rolls-Royce branded motor cars since 2003. The BBC called Rolls-Royce "probably one of the most recognised icons in the world", and that "the name Rolls-Royce entered the English language as a superlative."[3] A marketing survey in 1987 showed that only Coca-Cola was a more widely known brand than Rolls-Royce.[4]

Although the Rolls-Royce brand has been in use since 1906, the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars subsidiary of BMW AG has no direct relationship to Rolls-Royce-branded vehicles produced prior to 2003 other than being a major engine and other supplier prior to 2003. The Bentley Motors Limited subsidiary of Volkswagen AG is the direct successor to Rolls-Royce Motors and various other predecessor entities that produced Rolls-Royce and Bentley branded cars between the foundation of each company and 2003, when the BMW-controlled entity started producing cars under the Rolls-Royce brand.

The Rolls-Royce Phantom four-door saloon was the first product offered for sale in 2003. Since then, the company has expanded its product line to include extended wheelbase, two-door coupé, and convertible versions of the Phantom saloon, as well as the smaller Ghost four-door saloon, Wraith two-door coupé, Dawn convertible, the Cullinan SUV, and being introduced for 2023, the Spectre, the first all-electric Rolls-Royce.[5]


Spirit of Ecstasy, the bonnet ornament sculpture on Rolls-Royce cars
Spirit of Ecstasy, the bonnet ornament sculpture on Rolls-Royce cars

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited was created as a wholly owned subsidiary of BMW in 1998 after BMW licensed the rights to the Rolls-Royce brand name and logo from Rolls-Royce Holdings plc,[6] and acquired the rights to the Spirit of Ecstasy and Rolls-Royce grille shape trademarks from Volkswagen AG. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited has been manufacturing Rolls-Royce branded cars since 2003.

Although the Rolls-Royce brand has been in use since 1906, the fate of the brand diverged between 1998 and 2003. In 2003, the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars subsidiary of BMW AG, which had been a major supplier to the brand up to 2003, began manufacturing vehicles with the Rolls Royce name. Volkswagen AG took ownership of the Bentley name as well as previous Rolls Royce production facilities and previous Rolls Royce designs.

Current chief executive Torsten Müller-Ötvös joined the company in January 2010, with a pledge to regain the quality standards that made Rolls-Royce famous. That year sales in China increased by 600%, making it the company's second largest market after the US.[7]

Ownership and licensing of trademarks

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars emblem
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars emblem

In 1998, Vickers decided to sell Rolls-Royce Motors. The most likely buyer was BMW, which already supplied engines and other components for Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars, but BMW's final offer of £340 million was beaten by Volkswagen's £430 million ($703 million).[8]

A stipulation in the ownership documents of Rolls-Royce dictated that Rolls-Royce Holdings plc, the aero-engine maker, would retain certain essential trademarks, including the Rolls-Royce brand name and logo if the automotive division was sold. Although Vickers plc sold the vehicle designs, nameplates, administrative headquarters, production facilities, Spirit of Ecstasy and Rolls-Royce grille shape trademarks to Volkswagen AG, Rolls-Royce plc chose to license the Rolls-Royce name and logo to BMW AG for £40 million ($66 million), because Rolls-Royce plc had recently had joint business ventures with BMW.[9]

BMW's contract to supply engines and components to Rolls-Royce Motors allowed BMW to cancel the contract with 12 months' notice. Volkswagen would be unable to re-engineer the Rolls-Royce and Bentley vehicles to use other engines within that time frame. With the Rolls-Royce brand identification marks split between the two companies and Volkswagen's engine supply in jeopardy, the two companies entered into negotiations. Volkswagen agreed to sell BMW the Spirit of Ecstasy and grille shape trademarks and BMW agreed to continue supplying engines and components until 2003. Volkswagen continued to produce Rolls-Royce branded vehicles between 1998 and 2003. This gave BMW time to build a new Rolls-Royce administrative headquarters and production facility on the Goodwood Estate near Chichester, West Sussex, and develop the Phantom, the first Rolls-Royce from the new company. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited became the exclusive manufacturer of Rolls-Royce branded cars in 2003. Rolls-Royce announced in September 2014 that a new technology and logistics centre would be built, which opened in 2016, 8 miles away from the main headquarters, in the seaside resort town of Bognor Regis.[10][11]




Main article: Rolls-Royce Phantom (eighth generation)

Rolls-Royce Phantom 8th Generation
Rolls-Royce Phantom 8th Generation


Main article: Rolls Royce Ghost

Rolls-Royce Ghost Second Generation
Rolls-Royce Ghost Second Generation


Main article: Rolls Royce Wraith

Rolls-Royce Wraith
Rolls-Royce Wraith


Main article: Rolls-Royce Dawn

Rolls-Royce Dawn
Rolls-Royce Dawn


Main article: Rolls Royce Cullinan

Rolls-Royce Cullinan
Rolls-Royce Cullinan

In Testing


Main article: Rolls-Royce Spectre

Rolls-Royce Spectre test car
Rolls-Royce Spectre test car

Rolls Royce's first all-electric car, and its most aerodynamic, the Spectre coupe,[20] is scheduled to begin sales in 2023. It has begun the brand's most demanding testing program in its history, with 2.5 million kilometres, from everyday use to the harshest climates around the world, having already completed tests in Sweden, just 55 kilometres from the Arctic Circle, in -40˚C temperatures and on glacial surfaces.

The Spectre will also introduce a redesigned Spirit of Ecstasy, with one leg forward, a lower, powerful stance, and more realistic, but aerodynamic robes (commonly mistaken as wings).



Main article: Rolls-Royce Phantom (seventh generation)

Main article: Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé

Main article: Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupé

Main article: Rolls-Royce Sweptail

Rolls-Royce Phantom
Rolls-Royce Phantom
Rolls-Royce Phantom coupé
Rolls-Royce Phantom coupé

Concept vehicles


The all-time high record of sales (beginning in 2005) was achieved in 2018, at 4,107 cars,[26] topping 2014 sales by 44 cars. In 2011, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited sold 3,538 cars, an increase of 31 percent compared to 2010, beating the previous sales record from 1978. The strong sales growth occurred in the Asia Pacific region, Britain and the Middle East with sales increases of 47 percent, 30 percent and 23 percent respectively.[27]

Calendar year Total sales
2005[28] 796
2006 [28] 805
2007[29] 1,010
2008[30] 1,212
2009[30] 1,002
2010[30] 2,711
2011[27] 3,538
2012[31] 3,575
2013[32] 3,630
2014[26] 4,063
2015[33] 3,785
2016[34] 4,011
2017[35] 3,362
2018[36] 4,107


In 2014, the company designed a silver coloured Rolls-Royce-themed Paddington Bear statue, one of fifty located around London prior to the release of the film Paddington, which was auctioned to raise funds for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).[37]

See also


  1. ^ "Rolls-Royce Engineering Lead Jonathan Simms talks about engineering the Ghost". Autoblog. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  2. ^ "Rolls-Royce Designer Henry Cloke talks about the design aspect". Autoblog. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  3. ^ "Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow". BBC. Retrieved 12 June 2022.
  4. ^ "Rolls-Royce shares will fly". The Times, Wednesday, 29 April 1987; p. 25; Issue 62755
  5. ^ "Rolls-Royce Spectre". Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  6. ^ Cowell, Alan (29 July 1998). "INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS; BMW to Get Rolls-Royce After All by Acquiring the Name". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 12 June 2020.
  7. ^ TurboJet Horizon: 'Roll with the changes', published 1 November 2011
  8. ^ "Rolls-Royce Sale To VW Backed". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 June 2022.
  9. ^ "BMW Buys Rolls-Royce Brand Name". CBS. Retrieved 27 June 2022.
  10. ^ "Rolls-Royce plans Bognor Regis technology centre". BBC News. 8 September 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  11. ^ "New building sought by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars at its site". Bognor Regis Post. Retrieved 27 June 2022.
  12. ^ "2010 Rolls-Royce Ghost - Specifications, Pictures, Prices". Archived from the original on 7 September 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2010.
  13. ^ "Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II" (PDF) (Press release). Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. 4 March 2014. p. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 March 2014. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  14. ^ Peter Orosz. "Rolls-Royce Wraith: This Is It". Jalopnik. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  15. ^ "Which Rolls-Royce Is The Fastest? - Luxury Viewer". 12 February 2021. Retrieved 4 August 2021.
  16. ^ "2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith Set for 2013 Geneva Auto Show". Edmunds. 18 January 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  17. ^ Rolls-Royce Motor Cars PressClub: "Most dynamic and powerful Rolls-Royce in history set for debut at Geneva", Press Release published 18 January 2013
  18. ^ The new Rolls-Royce Dawn convertible has been unveiled just ahead of the 2015 Frankfurt motor show, Derek Fung, CarAdvice, 8 September 2015
  19. ^ Rolls-Royce's new Dawn is a glorious, £250,000 super-convertible, Jason Barlow, Top Gear, 8 September 2015
  20. ^ "CarAndDriver: Rolls-Royce Spectre". Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  21. ^ Petrány, Máté (31 May 2017). "This $13 Million Rolls-Royce Took Four Years to Build". Road & Track.
  22. ^ Jacobs, Caleb. "$13 Million Rolls-Royce Sweptail Could Be Most Expensive New Car Ever Made". The Drive.
  23. ^ "2008 Rolls-Royce Hyperion Images, Pricing and News". Retrieved 29 July 2010.
  24. ^ Blanco, Sebastian. "Rolls-Royce Mini auf autobloggreen". Archived from the original on 4 March 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
  25. ^ Savov, Vlad (16 June 2016). "The Rolls-Royce Vision 100 concept is completelty, irredeemably ridiculous". The Verge. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  26. ^ a b "ROLLS-ROYCE MOTOR CARS CELEBRATES FIFTH SUCCESSIVE SALES RECORD". Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. 6 January 2015. Archived from the original on 4 May 2019. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  27. ^ a b Matt Scuffham (9 January 2012). "Luxury carmaker Rolls-Royce enjoys record sales". Reuters.
  28. ^ a b "BMW Group Achieves New Sales Revenue Record In 2006". WebWire.
  29. ^ "BMW reports 90% drop in 2008 net profit to 330 million euro". Archived from the original on 24 July 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
  30. ^ a b c Usrey, Bryan (11 January 2011). "Rolls-Royce Has Massive Sales Year in 2010". Archived from the original on 8 July 2011. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
  31. ^ "Rolls-Royce Announces Record Sales In Company's 108-year History". Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. 10 January 2013. Archived from the original on 16 February 2013. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  32. ^ "Rolls-Royce says it is looking at designs for a 4x4 vehicle, as it reports record sales". BBC News. 9 January 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
  33. ^ "Rolls-Royce Announces Second Highest Sales Record In Its 113-Year History". 11 January 2016. Archived from the original on 3 March 2017.
  34. ^ "Rolls-royce Motor Cars Celebrates Second Highest Sales Record In Marque's 112-year History". Forbes. 1 March 2017.
  35. ^ "Rolls-royce Motor Cars Delivers Outstanding Result In 2017". Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  36. ^ Campbell, Peter (10 January 2019). "Rolls-Royce enjoys record car sales after US tax cuts". Financial Times. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  37. ^ "Why Paddington Bear Statues Have Taken Over London". Condé Nast. Retrieved 12 June 2022.

Further reading