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Rolls-Royce Motors was a British
luxury car A luxury car is a car that provides increased levels of comfort, equipment, amenities, quality (business), quality, performance, and social status, status compared to regular cars for an increased price. The term is subjective and reflects both ...
manufacturer, created in 1973 during the de-merger of the Rolls-Royce automotive business from the
nationalised Nationalization, or nationalisation, is the process of transforming privately owned assets into public assets by bringing them under the public ownership of a national government (disambiguation) , national government or State (polity) , state ...
Rolls-Royce Limited Rolls-Royce was a British luxury car and later an aero-engine manufacturing business established in 1904 in Manchester Manchester () is the most-populous city and metropolitan borough in North West England and Greater Manchester, England. ...
. It produced luxury cars under the Rolls-Royce and
Bentley Bentley Motors Limited is a British manufacturer and marketer of Luxury vehicle, luxury cars and Sport utility vehicle, SUVs, and a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group since 1998. Headquartered in Crewe, England, the company was founded as B ...

Bentley
brands.
Vickers Vickers was a famous name in British engineering that existed through many companies from 1828 until 1999. History Early history Vickers was formed in Sheffield as a steel foundry by Edward Vickers and his father-in-law George Naylor (busines ...
acquired the company in 1980 and sold it to
Volkswagen Volkswagen (;English: , . shortened to VW ) is a German motor vehicle manufacturer headquartered in Wolfsburg Wolfsburg ( , , ) is the fifth largest city in the Germany, German state of Lower Saxony, located on the river Aller (Germany), ...

Volkswagen
in 1998.
Bentley Motors Bentley Motors Limited is a British manufacturer and marketer of Luxury vehicle, luxury cars and Sport utility vehicle, SUVs, and a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group since 1998. Headquartered in Crewe, England, the company was founded as B ...

Bentley Motors
is the company's direct successor; however BMW acquired the rights to the Rolls-Royce trademark for use on automobiles and launched a new Rolls-Royce company shortly afterwards.


History

The original
Rolls-Royce Limited Rolls-Royce was a British luxury car and later an aero-engine manufacturing business established in 1904 in Manchester Manchester () is the most-populous city and metropolitan borough in North West England and Greater Manchester, England. ...
had been nationalised in 1971 due to the financial collapse of the company, caused in part by the development of the
RB211 The Rolls-Royce RB211 is a British family of high-bypass turbofan engines made by Rolls-Royce Holdings, Rolls-Royce. The engines are capable of generating of thrust. The RB211 engine was the first production turbofan#Three-spool, three-spool e ...

RB211
jet engine. In 1973, the British government sold the Rolls-Royce car business to allow nationalised parent Rolls-Royce (1971) Limited to concentrate on jet engine manufacture. In 1980, Rolls-Royce Motors was acquired by
Vickers Vickers was a famous name in British engineering that existed through many companies from 1828 until 1999. History Early history Vickers was formed in Sheffield as a steel foundry by Edward Vickers and his father-in-law George Naylor (busines ...
.


Sale to Volkswagen

In 1998,
Vickers plc Vickers plc was the remainder of Vickers-Armstrongs after the nationalisation of three of its four operating groups: aviation (as a 50% share since 1960 of British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) in 1977), shipbuilding (Vickers Shipbuilding and Engin ...
decided to sell Rolls-Royce Motors. The leading contender seemed to be
BMW Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, commonly referred to as BMW (), is a German multinational corporation which produces luxury vehicle A luxury car is a car A car (or automobile) is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transportation. Most defi ...

BMW
, who already supplied
internal combustion engine An internal combustion engine (ICE or IC engine) is a heat engine In thermodynamics and engineering, a heat engine is a system that converts heat to mechanical energy, which can then be used to do work (physics), mechanical work. It doe ...

internal combustion engine
s and other components for Rolls-Royce and
Bentley Bentley Motors Limited is a British manufacturer and marketer of Luxury vehicle, luxury cars and Sport utility vehicle, SUVs, and a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group since 1998. Headquartered in Crewe, England, the company was founded as B ...

Bentley
cars. Their final offer of £340m was outbid by
Volkswagen Group Volkswagen AG (), known internationally as the Volkswagen Group, is a German multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military bod ...

Volkswagen Group
, who offered £430m. As part of the deal, Volkswagen Group acquired the historic Crewe factory, plus the rights to the "
Spirit of Ecstasy ''The Spirit of Ecstasy'' is the bonnet ornament A hood/bonnet ornament, radiator cap, motor mascot or car mascot is a specially crafted model which symbolizes a car company like a badge, located on the front center portion of the Hood (vehic ...
"
mascot A mascot is any human, animal, or object thought to bring luck Luck is the phenomenon and belief that defines the experience of notably positive, negative, or improbable events. The naturalistic interpretation is that positive and negative e ...

mascot
and the shape of the radiator grille. However, the Rolls-Royce brand name and logo were controlled by aero-engine maker
Rolls-Royce plc Rolls-Royce Holdings plc is a British Multinational corporation, multinational aerospace and defence company incorporated in February 2011. The company owns Rolls-Royce, a business established in 1904 which today designs, manufactures and dist ...
, and not Rolls-Royce Motors. The aero-engine maker decided to license the Rolls-Royce name and logo to BMW and not to Volkswagen, largely because the aero-engine maker had recently shared joint business ventures with BMW. BMW paid £40m to license the Rolls-Royce name and "RR" logo, a deal that many commentators thought was a bargain for possibly the most valuable property in the deal. Volkswagen Group had the rights to the mascot and grille, but lacked rights to the Rolls-Royce name in order to build the cars; likewise, BMW had the name, but lacked rights to the grille and mascot. The situation was tilted in BMW's favour, as they could withdraw their engine supply with just 12 months notice, which was insufficient time for VW to re-engineer the Rolls-Royce cars to use VW's own engines. Volkswagen claimed that it only really wanted Bentley anyway, as it was the higher volume brand, with Bentley models out-selling the equivalent Rolls-Royce by around two to one.


Loss of Rolls-Royce marque

After negotiations, BMW and
Volkswagen Group Volkswagen AG (), known internationally as the Volkswagen Group, is a German multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military bod ...

Volkswagen Group
arrived at a solution. From 1998 to 2002, BMW would continue to supply engines for the cars and would allow Volkswagen use of the Rolls-Royce name and logo. On 1 January 2003, only BMW would be able to name cars "Rolls-Royce", and Volkswagen Group's former Rolls-Royce/Bentley division would build only cars called "Bentley". The last Rolls-Royce from the Crewe factory, the
Corniche alt=The Hawk's Nest corniche on NY Route 97, The Hawk's Nest is part of a corniche which carries New York State Route 97 above the Delaware River A corniche is a road on the side of a cliff or mountain, with the ground rising on one side and ...
, ceased production in 2002, at which time the Crewe factory became
Bentley Motors Limited Bentley Motors Limited is a British manufacturer and marketer of Luxury vehicle, luxury cars and Sport utility vehicle, SUVs, and a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group since 1998. Headquartered in Crewe, England, the company was founded as B ...
, and Rolls-Royce production was relocated to a new entity in Goodwood, England known as
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited is a British luxury automobile A luxury car is a car that provides increased levels of comfort, equipment, amenities, quality (business), quality, performance, and social status, status relative to regular cars ...
. Despite losing control of the Rolls-Royce marque to
BMW Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, commonly referred to as BMW (), is a German multinational corporation which produces luxury vehicle A luxury car is a car A car (or automobile) is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transportation. Most defi ...

BMW
, however, the former Rolls-Royce/Bentley subsidiary retains historical Rolls-Royce car assets such as the Crewe factory and L Series V8 engine.


Leadership

*1971–1980 Sir David Plastow *1980–1986 George Fenn *1986–1994 Peter Ward *1994–1998 Chris Woodwark *1998–1998 Graham Morris


Cars

*1965–1980
Silver Shadow
Silver Shadow
—the first Rolls-Royce with a
monocoque Monocoque (), also called structural skin, is a structural system in which loads are supported by an object's external skin, in a manner similar to an egg shell. The word ''monocoque'' is a French language, French term for "single shell". First u ...
chassis; started with a 6.23 L V8 engine, later expanded to 6.75 L; shared its design with the
Bentley T-series The Bentley T-series is a luxury automobile produced by Bentley Motors Limited Bentley Motors Limited is a British manufacturer and marketer of luxury cars and SUVs A sport utility vehicle or SUV is a car classification that combin ...
*1968–1991
Phantom VI
Phantom VI
*1971–1996
Corniche I-IV
Corniche I-IV
*1975–1986
Camargue Camargue (, also , , ; oc, label=Provençal dialect, Provençal, Camarga) is a natural region located south of Arles, France, between the Mediterranean Sea and the two arms of the Rhône River delta, delta. The eastern arm is called the ''Grand ...
styled by
Paolo Martin Paolo Martin (born 1943) is an widely known for his career with , , and / where he styled the ''Ferrari Dino Berlinetta Competizione'', concept, and the . Background and career Born in , in 1943, Martin began working in 1960 for ''S ...
with a
Pininfarina Pininfarina S.p.A. (short for Carrozzeria Pininfarina) is an Italian car design Automotive design is the process of developing the appearance, and to some extent the ergonomics, of motor vehicles, including automobiles, motorcycles, trucks, buse ...
body *1980–1998 Silver Spirit/Silver Spur—design shared with the Bentley Mulsanne Bentley models were produced mostly in parallel with the above cars. The Bentley Continental coupés (produced in various forms from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s) did not have Rolls-Royce equivalents. Very expensive Rolls-Royce Phantom limousines were also produced.


Volkswagen Group era

*1998–2002 Silver Seraph—This shared its design with the
Bentley Arnage The Bentley Arnage is a full-size luxury car manufactured and marketed by Bentley Motors in Crewe, England, from 1998 to 2009. The Arnage and its Rolls-Royce Motors, Rolls-Royce-branded sibling, the Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph, Silver Seraph, wer ...

Bentley Arnage
, which sold in much greater numbers. *2000–02 Corniche V—This two-door convertible shared its design with the
Bentley Azure The Bentley Azure is a four-seater convertible grand tourer produced by British automobile manufacturer Bentley Motors. The first version debuted in 1995 on the Bentley Continental R platform and was made until 2003. After a three-year break, a ...

Bentley Azure
and was the most expensive Rolls-Royce until the introduction of the 2003 Phantom.


Rolls-Royce cars timeline


See also

*
Bentley Bentley Motors Limited is a British manufacturer and marketer of Luxury vehicle, luxury cars and Sport utility vehicle, SUVs, and a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group since 1998. Headquartered in Crewe, England, the company was founded as B ...

Bentley
*
Rolls-Royce Limited Rolls-Royce was a British luxury car and later an aero-engine manufacturing business established in 1904 in Manchester Manchester () is the most-populous city and metropolitan borough in North West England and Greater Manchester, England. ...
*
Luxury vehicle A luxury car is a car A car (or automobile) is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transportation. Most definitions of ''cars'' say that they run primarily on roads, seat one to eight people, have four wheels File:Roue primitive.png, An ...
*
List of car manufacturers of the United Kingdom :''This list is incomplete. You can help by adding correctly sourced information about other manufacturers.'' As of 2018 there are approximately 35 active British car manufacturers and over 500 defunct British car manufacturers. This page lists ...


Further reading

*Richard Feast, ''Kidnap of the Flying Lady: How Germany Captured Both Rolls-Royce and Bentley'', Motorbooks,


External links


Video (RT 05:02) Showcasing 1988 Silver Spur.
{{Authority control Car manufacturers of the United Kingdom Rolls-Royce Volkswagen Group Luxury motor vehicle manufacturers British companies established in 1973 Vehicle manufacturing companies established in 1973 cs:Rolls-Royce ja:ロールスロイス