“It’s the primary Rolls-Royce that appears higher grimy,” says the emblem’s CEO, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, as he overlooks a small fleet of the marque’s first SUV version, dubbed Cullinan—the three automobiles certainly caked in mud and dust from a daylong romp around Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. “It’s an awesome departure for the logo.”
Cullinan, named for the biggest gem-great difficult diamond ever discovered, nominally begins at $325,000, but no Rolls-Royce is delivered in its base shape: One can upload tens if not loads of hundreds of bucks to the charge in bespoke paint, leather, woodwork, or custom cabinetry.
That’s all within the service of distinguishing it from luxurious SUV phase leader Range Rover, whose services have grown an increasing number of grand in latest years but can’t touch the opulence of its rival from Goodwood. If everybody was going to be the “Rolls-Royce of SUVs,” it becomes going to be Rolls-Royce.
While Cullinan will no doubt locate its way into the valet plenty of Beverly Hills and Bahrain, it’s built for a good deal greater.
“For the primary time, Rolls-Royce is the usage of phrases like sensible, practical, and flexible,” Müller-Ötvös says. “You can put your own family in, take your dogs, move fly-fishing—whatever you want. It may be even dirty for multiple days—no trouble.”
Cullinan’s performance credentials are strengthened by its 563-horsepower, twin-rapid V12 engine from figure company BMW and an “off-street” button that helps the car float over hard terrain because the suspension works double time beneath.
Rolls-Royce is a latecomer to the highly profitable luxurious SUV market. One by means of one, manufacturers that specialized for the higher a part of a century in top rate sports automobiles and chauffeured saloons have bowed to recent strain to keep customers who want taller vehicles from defecting to rival brands.
Their efforts were rewarded. The Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus, and Maserati Levante have vaulted to bestseller repute inside their respective brands. Aston Martin expects its DBX crossover to help double the emblem’s global sales as soon as it arrives later this 12 months. Consumer hobby is not going to flag. Tall cars have lengthy because graduated from the new regular to the norm.
Rolls-Royce, which sells just 4,000 cars each yr, is watching for comparable effects. Still, the stakes for introducing an SUV are excessive, says spokesman Richard Carter. “If you sell four,000 motors according to year, and also you get it wrong, you can in no time sell 1,000 a year.”
For his component, Müller-Ötvös says he is not inquisitive about sales extent. “The last issue I need to speak about is an extent,” he notes. “Volume is the contradiction of luxury. It’s the final thing customers want to hear. I don’t want to look a Rolls-Royce on each avenue nook.”
He does now not like to speak about the opposition, either, maintaining as a substitute that there may be masses of room within the marketplace. “It’s now not a lot that our competition is with different cars,” he says, including that customers are likelier to weigh the purchase of a new Rolls-Royce against that of a boat or a bit of artwork. “If they need each, they purchase each.”
When growing Cullinan, the Rolls-Royce layout group requested themselves: Is there any records in any way that would permit us to make an SUV? They quickly realized they may draw idea from the high strolling boards of the WWI-technology Silver Ghost and the designer wardrobe trunks strapped to the rear of Nineteen Twenties Phantoms.
They emerged with a boxy, angular layout featuring brief overhangs that hint at off-street robustness and a commanding perch. Unfussy sufficient for a proprietor to flip down the rear seats to toss in a driving tack or shotgun cases, yet with the precision in craftsmanship predicted of a Rolls.
Already, Rolls-Royce is seeing the car resonate with clients new to the emblem, such as girls and millennials. And whilst orders are growing in Rolls-Royce’s biggest North American markets—California and Florida—the ruggedness and four-wheel force are prompting an uptick in orders from Canada, New England, and the Rockies. Says Müller-Ötvös: “It is commencing new garages for us.”