The UK-based subsidiary of BMW has had a storied history, highlighted by a takeover from the latter in 1998.
While the Rolls-Royce brand has been in existence since the turn of the 20th century, the cars produced by proxy under the Bavarian company bear no direct relationship to any of the Roll-Royce branded cars produced prior to 2003. Interestingly enough, Bentley Motors – a subsidiary of rival, Volkswagen AG – is technically and legally, the true predecessor of the former Rolls-Royce vehicles.
The most notable distinction of the relationship between Rolls-Royce and BMW is the supply of engines from the parent company for use in all production vehicles which continues to this day. With headquarters and facilities located right next to the iconic Goodwood Circuit, all Rolls-Royce cars are imagined and built with performance, quality and luxury at the forefront.
This new trajectory has seen the brand significantly increase its presence on the international stage, with unit sales skyrocketing, particularly in Asia and Middle East markets where hyper-luxury cars are having a boon. Selling as many as 4,063 units in 2016, the marque still continues to benefit from having the US as its largest customer-base.
Despite a new corporate image, Rolls-Royce cars continue to embody the legendary past of the brand, and the cars that came long before the reshuffle. Still built in England, the cars are decidedly of a British flair and remain loyal to the design and engineering principles that have made them an automotive name brand for more than a century.
The most famous Rolls-Royce – the Phantom – retains its spot at the pinnacle of the lineup for 2021; recently redesigned, it is also the most expensive model, starting at more than $450,000. Not to fret though, as there will be a fresh face in the roster with the recently introduced and all-new Rolls-Royce Cullinan, looking to make its mark as the world’s most luxurious SUV. The Rolls-Royce Ghost – a fixture in the lineup for the past decade – was also been fully redesigned from the ground up for the 2020 model year so no major changes are expected for 2021.