Rolls-Royce - aiming for the Bentley market?
In our previous issue we gave details on the launch and specification of the Bentley Bentayga EWB, which turned the focus on comfort and even ‘wellness’ for passengers more than any previous Bentley – and which appeared to be a move towards more direct rivalry with current Rolls-Royce models than we have seen before. Now, with the increasing profile of Rolls-Royce’s Black Badge models, recently on display at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, we are seeing the firm’s move into a younger, more aggressive sector that seems adjacent to Bentley.
Readers can draw their own conclusions from this extract of the press release: ‘Launched in 2016, Black Badge is Rolls-Royce’s response to a new type of client. A permanent Bespoke treatment to its motor cars, these products are darker in aesthetic, more urgent in personality and dramatic in material. Designed with more torque, control and power, Rolls-Royce Black Badge is for those who reject conformity and live on their own terms. It is for the innovators, trailblazers, rule-breakers — and above all — those who dare.’
Rolls-Royce tell us that Black Badge now represents 27% of all their commissions worldwide, and at Goodwood, they showed how these highly personalised statements could work across four models: Ghost, Cullinan, Dawn and Wraith. Some of the colour combinations, especially in the interior choices, will shock the traditionalists, but perhaps that’s part of the aim. The Black Badge Wraith, for instance, was presented in Black over Tucana Purple with a mandarin coachline, teamed with a Mandarin and Black theme inside. One of the two Black Badge Ghosts was presented in Lime Green with a carbon-fibre Spirit of Ecstasy. It's a bold move, and one clearly designed to shift the centre of gravity for the Rolls-Royce’s brand image. Boris Weletzky, Regional Director of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars for UK, Europe, Russia and Central Asia, said ‘I am delighted to showcase such highly Bespoke cars in vivacious colours and luxurious hues, testament to the creativity of our artisans, designers and engineers.’