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Rolls-Royce fires starting gun on finding a replacement for chief executive Warren East as engineering giant rebuilds after Covid crisis

  • Chairman Anita Frew has begun drawing up a list of successors for Warren East 
  • East has led the most prestigious name in British engineering since 2015 
  • It is thought he could leave as soon as this year 










Rolls-Royce has fired the starting gun on finding a replacement for chief executive Warren East as the engineering giant rebuilds after the Covid crisis. 

Chairman Anita Frew has begun drawing up a list of successors for East, who has led the most prestigious name in British engineering since 2015. 

East has not announced plans to step down but it is thought he could leave as soon as this year. ‘Analysts believe he may leave the FTSE 100 group once it completes a three-pronged recovery strategy he has promised investors.’ 

Winding down: Boss Warren East has led the most prestigious name in British engineering since 2015

Winding down: Boss Warren East has led the most prestigious name in British engineering since 2015

Industry insiders said Rolls was taking a close look at the bosses of FTSE-listed defence companies as possible successors. The company is thought to be using recruitment group MWM Consulting to draw up the lists. 

Before the pandemic, the Derby-based engineer earned around half its turnover from servicing large plane engines. 

This meant a large chunk of its revenue depended on how many hours the planes flew and that when the pandemic grounded planes for months on end it lost a key source of revenue.

It plunged to dizzying losses, major credit agencies slashed its credit rating to junk status and it rapidly burned through cash

Defence now makes up around a third of the business and it is becoming less reliant on its work on big plane engines, or its ‘civil aerospace’ division. 

One source said that it was a ‘different business now’ and that a chief executive would need to reflect that. 

The company’s rules dictate that at least one of the chairman and chief executive must be a British national. 

Search: Anita Frew is looking for Warren East's successor

Search: Anita Frew is looking for Warren East’s successor

As Frew is a UK national, this means the new boss could be an international hire. 

Before East took over, he spent more than a decade leading Arm Holdings, the Cambridge-based technology group that is in the process of being sold to US chip group Nvidia.  

When he joined, he kicked off a restructuring to cut out layers of bloated middle management to trim down costs.

But when Covid hit, he was forced launch the third shakeup Rolls had seen in six years. To combat the crisis, Rolls kicked off a wide-ranging overhaul that included cutting 9,000 jobs from its 52,000-strong workforce, raising money and selling off parts of the business. 

It has raised £7.5billion since the pandemic began, including a £2billion share sale. 

East promised investors his strategy would stop the company burning through cash, which it achieved last year, to sell divisions of the group worth £2billion and slash its costs by £1.3billion. Rolls is on track to reach the disposals target this summer with the sale of Spanish aerospace unit ITP Aero to Bain Capital

In a recent trading update Rolls said it was likely to hit the £1.3billion cost savings goal by the end of this year. The company has also made huge progress with a long-running project to build mini nuclear power plants that it calls small modular reactors. 

The SMR project has been separated into a standalone company called Rolls-Royce SMR last year, in which Rolls has an 80 per cent holding. A Rolls spokesman said: ‘All large organisations regularly review the market to identify future talent and it is one of the board’s duties to ensure we have robust succession plans for senior roles. If there were any actual changes, we would of course make an announcement to the stock exchange.

Runners and riders in the race for top job 

Left-field option: Lynsey Valentine

Left-field option: Lynsey Valentine

A FTSE 100 defence chief, a nuclear strategist and the head of a James Bond-style tech company coulf be among the possible replacements for longtime Rolls-Royce boss Warren East. 

Top of Anita Frew’s list will be BAE Systems’ boss Charles Woodburn. He would be a coup for Rolls if it does indeed want to place more of an emphasis on its defence work.

But it will be mindful that Wood- burn received a pay rise last year to stop him moving to another unnamed British firm. 

Bosses may also be eyeing up Ultra Electronics head Simon Pryce and Meggitt’s lead Tony Wood. Both companies are in the process of being taken over by US bidders, Ultra in a £2.6bn from Advent International and Meggitt a £6.3billion swoop from rival Parker-Hannifin. Price and Wood could well be back in the jobs market this year if their deals go through so watch this space. 

Alternatively, Qinetiq chief Steve Wadey – who has led the hi-tech firm said to have been the inspiration for Q in James Bond since 2015 – could be in the mix. 

Or it could go for gruff Scotsman Archie Bethel, the former head of defence group Babcock International, though his reputation has been hit by write-downs at Bab- cock since he left. 

A left-field option could be Lynsey Valentine, strategy director at Cavendish Nuclear, if it wants to bolster its work in the nuclear sphere. 

Or Rolls might plump for an insider. Two prime candidates are Panos Kakoullis, the finance boss, and Tom Bell, defence head and chief executive of Rolls-Royce North America. 

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Rolls-Royce has given us all a glimpse into the world of the rich and famous by revealing a host of ultra-exclusive cars it built for well-heeled buyers in 2021.

The quintessential British luxury marque unveiled five creations for clients from last year, with each boasting personalised features specifically requested by opulent owners and costing well over seven figures.  

One of them is the world’s most expensive new car, the stunning Boat Tail, which cost a massive £20million. Three will be produced in total, and Rolls-Royce has now confirmed the second edition will be revealed at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este event on the banks of Lake Como in Italy in May. 

Rolls-Royces with an extra-special touch: The iconic British marque has revealed some of its exclusive and bespoke models produced for opulent customers in the previous 12 months

Rolls-Royces with an extra-special touch: The iconic British marque has revealed some of its exclusive and bespoke models produced for opulent customers in the previous 12 months

Earlier this week, the British car brand confirmed it sold a record 5,586 motor vehicles in 2021, which is the most annually in its 117-year history.

Among these were a number of ‘whimsical and wonderful client commissions’ created using ‘undeniable advancements of bespoke manufacturing’, it says.

CEO, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, added: ‘Rolls-Royce has once again demonstrated an innate understanding of craftsmanship, honing progressive and proprietary techniques amongst our highly skilled and talented team. 

‘Artisans continue to further the realm of Bespoke feasibility; precious and rare materials are used with ingenuity to create world-class examples of excellence in their field.’

These are the five unique automotive creations for those with a money-no-object approach to purchasing customised cars.

1. Boat Tail – the world’s most expensive car

In May 2021, Rolls-Royce wowed the public with the unveiling of the ‘Coachbuild’ Boat Tail, one of three unique vehicles produced for a celebrity couple, reported – though never confirmed – to be Jay-Z and Beyonce. 

A second example will make its global public debut at Villa d’Este this coming May and will likely look quite different to this ocean-inspired model. 

Costing a massive £20million and featuring an umbrella that extends out of the back above a hosting suite, dining area and cocktail tables, it was heralded as the world’s most expensive new car. 

It took Rolls-Royce exclusivity to an entirely new level: a purpose-built car with bespoke features and luxuries throughout. 

A total of 1,813 exclusive new parts were created for the project which took four years, with the total amount of pre-production planning hours by engineers taking the equivalent of 20 years. 

Measuring just under 5.8 meters long, the four-seater two-door Rolls-Royce Boat Tail was the first car built by Rolls-Royce’s Coachbuild department at the company’s boutique headquarters in Goodwood, Sussex.

Not just the most expensive new car ever, the Boat Tail is also the first to have its own extending umbrella and rotating cocktail tables

Not just the most expensive new car ever, the Boat Tail is also the first to have its own extending umbrella and rotating cocktail tables

Measuring just under 5.8 meters long, the four-seater two-door Boat Tail is the first to be built by Rolls-Royce's Coachbuild department at the company's boutique headquarters in Goodwood, Sussex

Measuring just under 5.8 meters long, the four-seater two-door Boat Tail is the first to be built by Rolls-Royce’s Coachbuild department at the company’s boutique headquarters in Goodwood, Sussex

Torsten Müller-Ötvös (pictured), Rolls-Royce Motor Cars CEO, at the unveiling of the incredibly bespoke Boat Tail in May 2021

Torsten Müller-Ötvös (pictured), Rolls-Royce Motor Cars CEO, at the unveiling of the incredibly bespoke Boat Tail in May 2021

The grand cruiser is inspired by the elegant J-Class yachts of the early 20th Century and the original ‘Boat Tail’ Rolls-Royces of 1920s and ’30s.  

Under the bonnet of the Boat Tail is Rolls-Royce’s massive 6.7-litre V12 twin turbo-charged petrol engine developing around 570 horsepower and linked to an eight-speed automatic. 

The company will say only that performance is ‘adequate’. But based on the claims for the current Phantom, expect 0-to-62mph acceleration of around five seconds with top speed governed at 155mph, but gas-guzzling fuel economy of around just 20mpg and CO2 emissions in excess of 300g/km.

Unlike most convertibles with a roof that stows away at the touch of a button, the Boat Tail has an 'unconventional' single-piece carbon-fibre and canvas removable fixed-canopy roof
The idea is that owner will drive with it in place from, say, a home in rainy Britain, then remove it for open-topped driving when at a chateau in sunny South of France or Monaco

Unlike most convertibles with a roof that stows away at the touch of a button, the Boat Tail has an ‘unconventional’ single-piece carbon-fibre and canvas removable fixed-canopy roof 

The £20m Boat Tail convertible grand tourer is the first of an exclusive trio of highly personalised nautically-based limousines - the second will be showcased this coming May

The £20m Boat Tail convertible grand tourer is the first of an exclusive trio of highly personalised nautically-based limousines – the second will be showcased this coming May

The rear deck opens like a pair of butterfly wings, providing under-cover storage for luxurious items - and two rotating cocktail tables that extend from the back of the vehicle

The rear deck opens like a pair of butterfly wings, providing under-cover storage for luxurious items – and two rotating cocktail tables that extend from the back of the vehicle

Boat Tail at a glimpse 

Price: £20million

Production volume: 3

Built: Goodwood, Sussex, by Coachbuild’ department

Dimensions:   

Length: 5,760mm

Width: 2,032mm 

Height: 1,581mm

Wheelbase: 3,321mm

Seats: 4 Doors:

Engine: 6.75 litre twin-turbo V12

Power: 570hp

Gears: 8-speed automatic

Top speed: Governed to 155mph

0 to 62mph: Approx 5 seconds

Fuel-economy: Circa 20mpg

CO2 emissions: More than 300g/km  

The most eye-catching features centre around the Boat Tail’s ‘aft deck’ – a modern interpretation of a yacht’s wooden rear deck in a special grey and black Caleidolegno wood veneer that is ‘visually elongated’ using brushed stainless steel pinstripe inlays.

At the press of a button this rear deck opens up like sweeping ‘butterfly wings’ to reveal an intricate ‘hosting suite’ for alfresco entertaining and displaying ‘a treasure chest of moving parts’.

To the left is a double refrigerator with special cradles to securely stow two bottles of champagne at a precise temperature.  

The section also provides space for four glasses, napkins and other accoutrements.

The right side is focussed on fine dining with a bespoke alfresco picnic and cuisine section with temperature controlled food warmers and cutlery made by Christofle of Paris.

Two pop-out cocktail tables open out – one at each side – and rotate elegantly ‘to mimic the offering of an attendant’ for aperitifs and dining.

The rear aft deck houses a number of stunning features. To the left is a double refrigerator with special cradles to securely stow two bottles of champagne at a precise temperature

The rear aft deck houses a number of stunning features. To the left is a double refrigerator with special cradles to securely stow two bottles of champagne at a precise temperature

The right side is reserved for fine dining pieces with a bespoke alfresco picnic and cuisine section with temperature controlled food warmers and cutlery made by Christofle of Paris

The right side is reserved for fine dining pieces with a bespoke alfresco picnic and cuisine section with temperature controlled food warmers and cutlery made by Christofle of Paris

Most dramatic of all is the sun shade parasol on an extending telescopic arm. It emerges, on demand, from the rear centre line beneath the opening rear deck wings 'in anticipation of fine weather'

Most dramatic of all is the sun shade parasol on an extending telescopic arm. It emerges, on demand, from the rear centre line beneath the opening rear deck wings ‘in anticipation of fine weather’

Two matching slim-line interlocking stools, designed by Rolls-Royce and created by Italian furniture maker Promemoria, use the same carbon-fibre and blue leather from the car and are stowed inside.

Most dramatic of all is the sun shade parasol on an extending telescopic arm. It emerges, on demand, from the rear centre line beneath the opening rear deck wings ‘in anticipation of fine weather’. The interior is also cooled to maintain constant temperatures regardless of weather.

Rolls-Royce even modified the cabin so that a pair of personalised ‘his and hers’ watches could be inserted into the dashboard to become the motor’s clock. 

2. Wraith Kryptos – the car with a code to crack to win a prize

The Wraith Kryptos is a collection of cars produced from 2020 to 2021 with a hidden code that - if cracked - will lead its fortunate few customers to a prize

The Wraith Kryptos is a collection of cars produced from 2020 to 2021 with a hidden code that – if cracked – will lead its fortunate few customers to a prize

Attempts to resolve the puzzle have originated from around the world but Rolls-Royce says not one person has cracked it yet

Attempts to resolve the puzzle have originated from around the world but Rolls-Royce says not one person has cracked it yet

If you have £258,000 to spend on a two-dour luxury coupe, then look no further than the Wraith and its 6.6-litre V12 engine that produces 624bhp, can accelerate from rest to 62mph in 4.4 seconds and has a limited top speed of 155mph.

But what if you want one that’s keeping a secret from you, its extremely rich keeper? 

Last year saw the British boutique car maker deliver the final in a series of Wraith ‘Kryptos Collection’ cars, which is described as its ‘most mysterious series ever’. 

The collection – launched in 2020 – conceals hidden cyphers, embedded in the design of the car. 

These would be impossible to spot with an unknowing eye, but for Rolls-Royce clients with a curious mind there lies a code that must be solved and with it, a one-of-a-kind prize can be claimed.

Attempts to resolve the puzzle have originated from around the world with deeply complex theories and tomes of analysis sent to the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood for consideration. Yet the code has still not been cracked. 

3. Cullinan 50th – the car built for a country

This one-of-a-kind Cullinan SUV was produced to celebrate the United Arab Emirates' historic Golden Jubilee that was celebrated last year

This one-of-a-kind Cullinan SUV was produced to celebrate the United Arab Emirates’ historic Golden Jubilee that was celebrated last year

The exterior, finished in Crystal over Arctic White, was adorned with a hand-painted double coachline – the upper line in Hotspur Red, the lower Fame Green - and a special 50th motif

The exterior, finished in Crystal over Arctic White, was adorned with a hand-painted double coachline – the upper line in Hotspur Red, the lower Fame Green – and a special 50th motif

The tailored interior mirrors the exterior in the same tones, including the UAE's emblem embroidered on each headrest

The tailored interior mirrors the exterior in the same tones, including the UAE’s emblem embroidered on each headrest

When Rolls-Royce announced the Cullinan, a few jaws hit the ground. An SUV with a starting price of £264,000 that looks the size of a tank and weighs over 2.5 tonnes cannot be sniffed at. But this behemoth of a luxury motor is the ideal large canvas for a one-off design.

This spectacular, one-of-a-kind, example was created for a country, marking the United Arab Emirates’ historic Golden Jubilee in 2021. 

The exterior, finished in Crystal over Arctic White, is adorned with a hand-painted double coachline – the upper line in Hotspur Red, the lower Fame Green. 

The effect was completed with a coachline motif in the colours of the national flag with a matching pinstripe for the wheel-centres.

The tailored interior mirrors the exterior in the same tones, including the UAE’s emblem embroidered on each headrest. 

Though the real showstopper pieces are the gold 50th anniversary motif inlaid in the fascia, a rear ‘waterfall’ and picnic tabletops. The interior cabin also features a spectacular Starlight Headliner with a unique Shooting Star configuration in a green-coloured hue.

4. Wraith in Pebble Paradiso – the ‘take your feet off the dashboard’ Rolls-Royce

This colour, ordered by a Shanghai-based client, is called Pebble Paradiso blue and is exclusive to the customer

This colour, ordered by a Shanghai-based client, is called Pebble Paradiso blue and is exclusive to the customer

The standout feature is the  baby girl's footprints on the dashboard - a tribute to the client's long sought-after bundle of joy

The standout feature is the  baby girl’s footprints on the dashboard – a tribute to the client’s long sought-after bundle of joy

A Shanghai based client commissioned this unique Wraith in a colour named Pebble Paradiso blue – to create the customer’s very own ‘Shanghai seaside inspired paradise’. 

A hand-painted coachline in a Seashell hue features a delicate orchid motif, symbolising her passion for elegance.

But it’s on the inside that this car really stands out: it features artwork of a baby girl’s footprints on the Piano White dashboard, a tribute to the client’s long sought-after bundle of joy. 

The two-tone interior features Charles Blue and Seashell in natural grain leather. A Bespoke Starlight Headliner continues the celebration with a personalised constellation paying tribute to her daughter.

Coastal hues, the infinite love of a child and the elegance and grace of orchids signify the client’s overarching way of life – her Wraith is her favourite place to escape to.

5. Phantom Koa – the Rolls-Royce with a ‘one in a million’ interior

This might look like any 'ordinary' Rolls-Royce Phantom on the face of things, but inside it contains a unique feature...

This might look like any ‘ordinary’ Rolls-Royce Phantom on the face of things, but inside it contains a unique feature…

Phantom Koa is the first Rolls-Royce Phantom to incorporate Koa wood, a rare species of tree that grows only on Hawaiian soil

Phantom Koa is the first Rolls-Royce Phantom to incorporate Koa wood, a rare species of tree that grows only on Hawaiian soil

The unique Koa tree grows only in Hawaii and is protected in State and National parks. It can only be harvested from private agricultural land which makes it truly rare for it to feature in a motor car

The unique Koa tree grows only in Hawaii and is protected in State and National parks. It can only be harvested from private agricultural land which makes it truly rare for it to feature in a motor car

Rolls-Royce’s range-topping Phantom limousine will set owners back a pretty penny. A massive £363,000, in fact. But that price will easily rise into the millions when you ask for it to be kitted with a cabin material that’s almost impossible for anyone to get their hands on. 

Phantom Koa is the first Rolls-Royce to incorporate Koa wood – a rare species of tree that grows only on Hawaiian soil. Last year, authorities in the country arrested five men for allegedly cutting down and taking koa trees in state parks and forest areas without state permits – and face jail time for their transgression!

The inspiration to use the protected wood in a Rolls-Royce came from car enthusiast Jack Boyd Smith Jr and his wife Laura, who have developed a fascination for Koa having spent significant amounts of time in Maui – as you do, if you’re a holidaying millionaire.

The unique Koa tree grows only in Hawaii and is protected in State and National parks. And it can only be harvested from private agricultural land. That means to find a source to use as a material for a car is ‘truly rare’. 

A Rolls-Royce ‘Wood Specialist’ [yes, Rolls-Royce has its own in-house timber expert division] described the find as a ‘one in a million chance’.

After three years of collaboration with the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Collective, Mr Smith’s Bespoke commission now features in his personal collection of more than 60 unique motor cars in the JBS Collection Museum. 

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

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British luxury car maker Rolls-Royce has announced the highest sales in its 117 year history – up by a dramatic 49 per cent – as it boosts the number of bespoke commissions and accelerates into an electric future.

Bosses claimed that the Covid pandemic had actually helped fuel the record sales boom as well-heeled customers with a ‘life can be short’ mentality decided to splash out now on a Rolls-Royce, rather than wait. 

As the super-rich shrugged off the effects of the global pandemic, sales to clients around the world soared to a record 5,586 motor cars as well-heeled customers personalised record numbers of bespoke vehicles to their specific taste.

Rolls-Royce said it enjoyed ‘a phenomenal year’ with high demand for all models, particularly the Ghost limousine and Cullinan SUV, reporting all-time records in most sales regions, including Greater China, the Americas and Asia-Pacific, and in multiple countries across the world. 

'Life can  be short' mentality sparks record sales for Rolls-Royce: British luxury car maker announced record sales in 2021 for its 117 year history – up by 49% year-on-year to 5,586 units

‘Life can  be short’ mentality sparks record sales for Rolls-Royce: British luxury car maker announced record sales in 2021 for its 117 year history – up by 49% year-on-year to 5,586 units

With order books extending into the third quarter of 2022, the company with a boutique factory at Goodwood in West Sussex said bespoke commissions were also at record levels, with customers typically spending double the basic list price to customise their vehicle to their personal tastes. Sometimes the final tally can be much higher

Rolls-Royce proclaimed itself the ‘undisputed leader’ in the super-luxury segment for cars priced over £250,000. 

Chief executive Torsten Müller-Ötvös told This is Money: ‘It’s very much down to Covid, as with the entire luxury business world-wide.

‘People cannot travel a lot. They cannot invest in luxury services.

‘For that reason there’s a lot of money accumulated worldwide to be spent on luxury goods. We’ve all profited from that.’

On a serious note he said: ‘People are dying from Covid. It makes people think that life can be short and that it’s better to live now.’

He added that despite 2021 being a ‘volatile and challenging’ year, the biggest challenge was not seeking customers, but satisfying demand which has been ‘never stronger.’

Rolls-Royce at full production capacity: The luxury car maker's Goodwood plant is working flat-out building bespoke vehicles for clients around the world, posting record sales in 2021

Rolls-Royce at full production capacity: The luxury car maker’s Goodwood plant is working flat-out building bespoke vehicles for clients around the world, posting record sales in 2021

Waiting times for a new Rolls-Royce are currently running at one year.

Mr Müller-Ötvös said: ‘If you order a Rolls-Royce today you will expect to take delivery in about a year from now.’

The Cullinan SUV and Ghost each accounted for 40 per cent of total sales. 

Other highlights of the past year included: the unveiling of partially disguised first all-electric production car called Spectre – set for showrooms in 2023 after a year of testing around the world; the launch of Black Badge Ghost in October (priced from £325,000 or £100,000 above the standard Ghost); and the unveiling of its coachbuilt £20million Boat Tail (one of three separate and unique commissions) marking the launch of Rolls-Royce Coachbuild as a permanent fixture in its portfolio.

Spelling out its success, the company said: ‘All Rolls-Royce models performed extremely strongly. 

‘Growth has been driven principally by Ghost, with demand surging further, following the launch of Black Badge Ghost in October 2021. 

‘This, together with the continuing pre-eminence of Cullinan and the marque’s pinnacle product, Phantom, has ensured order books are full well into the third quarter of 2022.’

Record sales were driven by its latest new model, the updated Ghost limousine (pictured)

Record sales were driven by its latest new model, the updated Ghost limousine (pictured)

Also helping boost demand to record levels was the Cullinan - Rolls-Royce's first SUV model that is proving extremely popular among the super rich

Also helping boost demand to record levels was the Cullinan – Rolls-Royce’s first SUV model that is proving extremely popular among the super rich

The company’s Provenance programme for ‘pre-owned’ or second hand vehicles also enjoyed ‘exceptional’ all-time record sales.

Record bespoke commissions were boosted by examples such as the Phantom Oribe co-created with Hermès, the Phantom Tempus, Black Badge Wraith and Black Badge Dawn Landspeed Collection cars, it said adding: ‘The company signalled its commitment to leading a new contemporary coachbuilding movement with Rolls Royce Coachbuild becoming a permanent fixture in its future portfolio, and with it the unveiling of its latest coach-built masterpiece, Boat Tail.’

Significantly, nearly a third (27 per cent) of all Rolls-Royce customers now opt for the ‘Black Badge’ treatment on their luxury cars – rising to around 40 per cent in some cases and regions. 

The Black Badge range has been aimed at a bustling younger market of millionaires, meeting their requirements for stealth-like motors with all-black grilles and design features. 

The introduction of the 'Black Badge' range has also helped boost sales (pictured Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge)

The introduction of the ‘Black Badge’ range has also helped boost sales (pictured Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge)

The Black Badge range has been aimed at a bustling younger market of millionaires, meeting their requirements for stealth-like motors with all-black grilles and design features

The Black Badge range has been aimed at a bustling younger market of millionaires, meeting their requirements for stealth-like motors with all-black grilles and design features

It’s paying off handsomely in profits, too, for although Rolls-Royce doesn’t publish its accounts separately from parent company BMW, industry experts who have dived deep into the figures reckon the firm is now jointly the most profitable car company in the world alongside Italy’s Ferrari, with an estimated 50 per cent return on investment.

Rolls-Royce also announced its first all-electric car, Spectre, during 2021 (cheekily in the same week as the launch of the new 007 movie ‘No Time to Die’ in which Bond’s nemesis organisation is called SPECTRE) noting: ‘The extraordinary undertaking of bringing Spectre to market by the fourth quarter of 2023 has now begun, and the most punishing testing protocol ever conceived for a Rolls Royce is underway. This 1.5 million mile (2.5 million-kilometre) journey, which extends to all four corners of the world, will simulate more than 400 years of use for a Rolls Royce.’

It added: ‘While preparations are made for the marque’s all-electric future, Rolls-Royce continues to meet the surge in demand for its current portfolio through a flexible manufacturing process and the dedication of the over 2,000 people who work at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, West Sussex and around the world.’

The Rolls-Royce factory at Goodwood is currently running at maximum capacity, on a two-shift pattern to fulfil orders from clients around the world, it stressed, noting: ‘Rolls-Royce will continue to invest in its manufacturing plant in readiness for electrification, and in future talent, with a record 37 new apprentices set to join the company in September 2022.’

Mr Müller-Ötvös added: ‘2021 was a phenomenal year for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

‘In the past 12 months, we have recorded our highest-ever annual sales, launched the latest addition to our Black Badge family, stunned the world with our coachbuilding capabilities and made huge strides into our all-electric future. ‘

Ross-Royce boss Torsten Müller-Ötvös (pictured) praised ‘the dedication and commitment of the extraordinary people’ at the car firm as he announced record sales in 2021

Ross-Royce boss Torsten Müller-Ötvös (pictured) praised ‘the dedication and commitment of the extraordinary people’ at the car firm as he announced record sales in 2021

Rolls-Royce's first electric car teased: These are the first images of Spectre - the debut battery-powered limousine built by the luxury firm and due to go on sale in 2023

Rolls-Royce’s first electric car teased: These are the first images of Spectre – the debut battery-powered limousine built by the luxury firm and due to go on sale in 2023

He continued: ‘Our extremely strong product portfolio, an exceptional bespoke offering, together with the first full year of availability of Ghost, the launch of Black Badge Ghost in October and the continuing record demand for bespoke personalisation, has contributed meaningfully to our extremely strong performance.

‘This is hugely encouraging as we prepare for the historic launch of Spectre, our first all-electric car. Building on this year’s success, we will continue to evolve as a true luxury brand, beyond the realms of automotive manufacturing.’

He praised ‘the dedication and commitment of the extraordinary people’ at Rolls-Royce noting: ‘It is my privilege and pleasure to work alongside them every day.’ 

The Rolls-Royce boss also suggested that this year could marginally exceed 2021’s record sales, saying: ‘Our future is secure.’

The company is planning a new paint shop and may be recruiting more staff.

Brexit had brought some ‘bureaucracy and red tape’ particularly around bringing in key workers from the Continent, and some labelling issues. But had not halted the sales boom, he said.

Last week British luxury rival Bentley, owned by Volkswagen Group, also announced record global sales – up nearly a third – as it charges ahead with ambitious plans to electrify its entire range. 

Fellow prestige brand Aston Martin also announced it had achieved its target to sell around 6,000 vehicles to wholesalers in 2021.

The manufacturer revealed sales jumped by 82 per cent to 6,182 last year, including slightly over 3,000 units of its DBX model to take a 20 per cent share of the luxury SUV market. 

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Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

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