The move to win orders from company bosses and expand the company under Volkswagen's ownership comes as the present business gears up to lose the Rolls-Royce name to BMW at midnight on December 31, 2002. Overall Rolls-Royce sales slumped 26% to 444 units last year against 600 in 1998, with sales only increasing in the United States of America. Despite BMW buying ownership of the Rolls-Royce name in three years time, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and Bentley Motor Cars has continued to invest in the marque with upgrades on the Silver Seraph and the launch at the Los Angeles Auto Show of the all-new Corniche.
Meanwhile, Bentley sales were fractionally down last year on 1998 - 1,003 against 1,019 unitsA new styling and design centre has opened at Crewe to 'become the cradle for the creation of the new generations of Bentley which will provide the springboard to increased volumes over the next few years'. Designers have come up with eight Bentley concept cars so far of which 'at least two' will go into production, one of them a mid-size Bentley. The cars will be priced at £80,000-£100,000.