Rolls-Royce Celebrates 20 Years At Goodwood

Rolls-Royce Celebrates 20 Years At Goodwood

The Home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood is now 20 years old. In 1997, when the BMW Group was presented with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, it sought to create a new home for Rolls-Royce, befitting its status and heritage. The brand is an institution, with a history dating back to 1904. Its name is also a byword for excellence where brands and products across almost every industry aspire to be ‘the Rolls-Royce of…’

Sir Henry Royce at Elmstead
Sir Henry Royce at Elmstead

With many towns and cities offering themselves as the choice location, it was eventually decided that Goodwood would be the place. Chichester in the south of UK, and its surrounding areas, hold a personal connection to Rolls-Royce, as the company’s co-founder, Sir Henry Royce, lived and worked for the last 16 years of his long and illustrious life at his beloved home in Elmstead, in West Wittering. It was here that he produced some of his most memorable work. Famously, he sketched the basic design for his Merlin aero engine, which later powered the legendary Spitfire fighter plane, in the sand on West Wittering beach.

Furthermore, motorsport fans worldwide were already familiar with the Goodwood Motor Circuit and the Festival of Speed. The wider Goodwood Estate also includes the racecourse and hotel, both at the centre of international society and therefore familiar to Rolls-Royce’s clientele, making it the ideal choice.

Rolls-Royce immediately secured an enthusiastic and influential champion for its project in the Estate’s owner, the now Duke of Richmond, who identified a parcel of land that perfectly suited the company’s needs. To design the Home of Rolls-Royce, Rolls-Royce commissioned award-winning architects Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners, whose credentials included London’s Waterloo International railway station and the Eden Project in Cornwall. They created a striking, contemporary and highly sustainable building that blended effortlessly into the surrounding landscape. It also symbolised the innovative, technologically advanced and meticulously crafted products that would be created inside.The Home of Rolls-Royce_Goodwood

A couple of decades later, the Home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood remains the only place in the world where Rolls-Royce motor cars are designed and built, by hand, still. It is also the global headquarters of a business that now operates in more than 50 countries worldwide. In 2016, the company opened its Technology and Logistics Centre in Bognor Regis, to support Goodwood’s highly streamlined, fully integrated manufacturing processes.

Besides a new home, Rolls-Royce also needed a new flagship product to re-establish its position as “The best car in the world”. The result was the Phantom. At 1 minute past midnight on 1 January 2003, Rolls-Royce delivered the first-ever Phantom of the Goodwood era to its new owner, who still owns the motor car to this day.Rolls-Royce Phantom_Shadow

Then in 2007, the company launched the Phantom Drophead Coupé, and a year later, the imposing Phantom Coupé. The latter was so admired by customers and the media, it would influence Rolls‑Royce’s design philosophy for the next decade and more.

The new incarnation of Rolls-Royce increasingly appeals to a new generation of younger, self-made, self-confident people, who brought with them different demands, desires and expectations. In 2010 the company responded with a completely new model, Ghost. Driver-focused and approachable, Ghost was an instant success, and would go on to be the biggest-selling Rolls-Royce in history.

In 2013, Rolls-Royce launched its most powerful model ever, Wraith, followed by the Dawn drophead 3 years later. And since 2018, the ‘Rolls-Royce of SUVs’, Cullinan, has allowed customers to enjoy the company’s signature ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ off the road as well as on it. The Cullinan is now the most in-demand model in the company’s line-up and, together with Phantom, among the most desired luxury goods on the planet. Al_Futtaim_Rolls-Royce_Cullinan

At the same time, certain clients were looking for something more subversive and rebellious. For these outliers, Rolls-Royce created the Black Badge editions which are more potent and uncompromising expressions of Ghost, Wraith, Dawn and Cullinan. Today, Black Badge accounts for more than a third of the cars built at Goodwood. Rolls-Royce Black Badge Ghost

Over the past 20 years, Rolls-Royce has also continuously developed and expanded its Bespoke capabilities, giving clients near-infinite ways to personalise their motor car. The ultimate expression of this is Coachbuild, where a small but significant group of individuals can commission not just their motor car’s external colour and interior features, but its physical form.

Perhaps most importantly, Goodwood is also Home to the Rolls-Royce family. That family has grown from 350 people in 2003 to 2,500 today, including 150 new posts created in 2022 alone, and with more than 50 nationalities represented. This family includes designers, engineers, craftspeople, assembly teams, sales, marketing, finance, IT, human resources and other specialists. Between them, they represent huge reserves of experience and expertise: in 2022, a record number of Service Recognition Awards were presented to colleagues marking 20 years with the company. Goodwood has also housed hundreds of university students in industrial placements to gain invaluable experience and build successful careers with Rolls-Royce, BMW Group and elsewhere. Rolls-Royce_Phantom_Starlight_Goodwood

Today, Rolls-Royce stands as the global exemplar for luxury manufacturing excellence; a true House of Luxury, making some of the rarest, most beautiful and precious objects on Earth. But perfection is not finite or fixed. There is no point at which it is ever fully achieved: there is always something to be refined, improved or reimagined. It is this constant striving to Sir Henry Royce’s maxim “take the best that exists and make it better”, that makes the Home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood such a unique, enthralling and inspiring place to be.

“Goodwood is both the physical and spiritual Home of Rolls-Royce; the only place in the world where we design and handcraft our unique luxury products, with a unique, personal connection to our long history. Far more than just an advanced manufacturing facility and corporate headquarters, it gives visitors an immediate introduction to our brand: beautiful, elegant and impressive, yet also creative, vibrant and ever-changing. In its design and construction, it embodies our central values of precision, attention-to-detail and pride for this great British institution. It is its own private universe, yet wholly connected to the wider world. We, the Rolls‑Royce family, are privileged to call it home,” commented Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

BMW Group’s acquisition of Rolls-Royce and subsequent creation of a fitting home for the marque was described at the time as “the last great adventure in automotive manufacturing”. In October 2022, Rolls-Royce embarked on another, perhaps even more ambitious endeavour, with the launch of its genre-defining ultra-luxury electric super coupé, Spectre. This ushered in a new age, in which every new Rolls-Royce model by the end of 2030 will be fully electric.Rolls-Royce Spectre_Prototype_Test


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