Fleet News

BMW reveals expansion plans for Rolls-Royce

BMW will have the capacity to double production of Rolls-Royce cars when it takes over ownership of the brand from Volkswagen in January, 2003.

The former Rover owner has been working on an all-new Rolls model since VW agreed to split the Rolls-Royce and Bentley brands two months after acquiring both from Vickers for £497 million in 1998.

Badge, grille and Spirit of Ecstasy emblem are understood to have cost BMW £40 million, and the Munich-based car maker will spend at least £50 million more building an all-new Rolls-Royce factory at Goodwood, near Chichester, Sussex.

Last year's Rolls-Royce output from the VW-owned Crewe, Cheshire factory was 430 cars while losses were £136 million. BMW's new plant will have an annual capacity of 1,000 cars and will employ 350 people.

Goodwood had been on a shortlist of four -the others being Cowley, Derby and an M40 greenfield site west of London.

Other than confirming Sussex as the future home of Rolls-Royce, BMW has said nothing officially about its production plans. VW has committed to upping Bentley production to 9,000 a year from its current 1,500 after the changeover.

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