Who Owns Rolls Royce?

Who really owns the prestigious Rolls-Royce, renowned for its opulence and unmatched craftsmanship? Since 1998, this emblem of luxury has been under the stewardship of a well-known automotive giant, blending traditional British elegance with robust German engineering. In this post, we will share the intriguing story behind the ownership of Rolls-Royce and how it became part of a larger legacy while continuing to set the standard in luxury automotive excellence.

Who Owns Rolls Royce?

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited, known for producing some of the world’s most luxurious vehicles, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the German automotive company, BMW AG. BMW acquired the rights to the Rolls-Royce name, logo, and the Spirit of Ecstasy emblem in 1998 after a notable acquisition deal.

This transition allowed BMW to manage the production and sale of Rolls-Royce automobiles while ensuring that the cars continued to embody the heritage and prestige of the Rolls-Royce brand. The modern Rolls-Royce cars are manufactured in Goodwood, West Sussex, England, in a facility that combines state-of-the-art technology with traditional craftsmanship, true to the brand’s legacy of luxury and excellence.

The ownership by BMW has provided Rolls-Royce Motor Cars with robust financial backing and access to advanced automotive technology, enhancing its capacity to produce exceptionally refined vehicles that maintain the distinctiveness and high standards expected of the Rolls-Royce name.

How Did Rolls-Royce Start?

Rolls-Royce began as a collaboration between two remarkable individuals: Charles Rolls and Henry Royce. Their partnership, formed in the early 20th century, laid the foundation for what would become one of the most iconic luxury automobile brands in the world.

The Founders

Charles Rolls was an aristocrat with a passion for automobiles. Educated at Cambridge, he was an early motorist and aviator, known for his enthusiasm for all things automotive. He started one of Britain’s first car dealerships, which imported and sold French Peugeot cars.

Henry Royce was a gifted engineer who started his career in the electric and mechanical industry. In 1904, Royce built his first motor car in a small factory in Manchester. His focus on reliability and attention to detail were evident even in this first vehicle.

Formation of Rolls-Royce

The two men were brought together by a mutual friend, Henry Edmunds, who was both a director of Royce’s company and an acquaintance of Rolls. Edmunds arranged a meeting between Rolls and Royce, believing that Rolls could sell the high-quality cars that Royce was capable of engineering. They met at the Midland Hotel in Manchester on May 4, 1904, and quickly agreed to a partnership.

Rolls was impressed with Royce’s engineering and his commitment to building the best cars in the world, a principle that would guide the company throughout its history. Under their agreement, Royce would manufacture cars, and Rolls would sell them. The cars were to be sold as “Rolls-Royce.”

The Silver Ghost

The partnership was solidified with the success of the Rolls-Royce 10 hp, their first car. However, it was the introduction of the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost in 1907 that truly established Rolls-Royce as a premier automobile manufacturer. The Silver Ghost was acclaimed for its reliability and smoothness. It was famously promoted as “the best car in the world” after completing a 14,371-mile run virtually trouble-free, setting a benchmark for automotive excellence.

The Expansion

The success of the Silver Ghost led to an increase in demand for Rolls-Royce vehicles. In response, the company moved to a larger factory in Derby in 1908. During World War I, Rolls-Royce also contributed to the war effort by manufacturing airplane engines, which began their long-standing involvement in the aerospace industry.

Legacy and Growth

The death of Charles Rolls in 1910 in a flying accident did not stop the growth of Rolls-Royce. Henry Royce continued his work, leading the company until his health declined in the 1930s. Rolls-Royce continued to expand its product line and global reach, building upon the foundation of engineering excellence and luxury that the founders had established.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the current owner of Rolls-Royce?

The current owner of Rolls-Royce is the German luxury car company, BMW. Initially founded as an engine producer known as Rapp Motorenwerke, the company changed its name to Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW) in 1917.

Who bought Rolls-Royce and Bentley?

The company was acquired by Vickers in 1980 and then was sold to Volkswagen in 1998. Despite this, BMW procured the rights to the Rolls-Royce trademark for automobile use and launched a fresh Rolls-Royce company not long after.

What is the most expensive Rolls-Royce car?

The Rolls-Royce La Rose Noire Droptail holds this title, believed to sell for over $30 million, making it the most expensive new car.

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