By Theodore Opara
THE automotive world is so dynamic that one can’t tell what would be invented tomorrow. From flying to self-driven cars, no one can tell what next would be added in the nearest future. But the latest trend at the moment is that traditional sport, saloon and pure luxury car makers are venturing into Sport Utility Vehicles segment. Bentley, Lamborghini and Ferrari have already bought into this segment but the talk of the town at the moment is that the king of luxury car makers, Rolls Royce, has joined the line up with the Cullinan SUV. A unique SUV that has no comparison, the Rolls Royce Cullinan is positioned to be the most expensive SUV in the world.
Information reaching Vanguard has it that one needs to break the banks to own Cullinan SUV, but this won’t be a problem to Rolls Royce customers who know the worth of the precious machine.According to a Coscharis Motors source, representatives of Rolly Royce in Nigeria, who would not like to be mentioned, some Nigerian Rolls Royce customers have signified interest to have this car in their garages.
“Already, traditional Rolls Royce owners have queued up to add the king of SUVs to their array of Rolls Royce models on their fleets and many Nigerians are on the list,” he said.
Chief Executive, Torsten Muller-Otvos said the new Cullinan, which will cost more than 200,000 pounds, was a “seminal” moment and probably the “most anticipated” Rolls Royce ever.
The launch of the Cullinan, named after the world’s biggest diamond that is part of the crown jewels, marks a shift away from the luxury saloon cars that Rolls Royce is best known for.
Mr Torsten Müller-Ötvös told the BBC its target market has changed significantly over the past decade. “What we see is ultra-high net worth individuals – people who can afford a RollsRoyce – are getting younger and younger,” he said adding “You see people who want to drive themselves and it’s quite an old cliche that Rolls Royce is chauffeur-driven onlyThe new clientele wants a car that “fits to go to the opera, which brings you up to the charlet in the Swiss Alps and so on”.
Motor industry analyst, Arndt Ellinghorst of Evercore ISI, said SUVs had already replaced the majority of top-end limousines because they offered a more comfortable seating position and better road view.
“If you drive an ‘ordinary luxury car’ you look like a chauffeur; in a luxury SUV you’re still the king” he said adding “there’s no reason why Rolls Royce should not enter this very profitable segment of the market.Tradition is one thing but Rolls Royce also needs to address contemporary changes in demand. The brand has a great opportunity to move from 3,000-4,000 units a year to 5,000-6,000 units without sacrificing its extreme luxury appeal.They will most certainly succeed. BMW has the technology that Roll Royce can leverage into a benchmark super luxury SUV.”