Manu P. Toms, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, February 25, 2011
Close on the heels of announcing its first electric car in super-luxury segment, Rolls Royce said it will come out with a hybrid as well. "Next is a plug-in hybrid. We are working on it. We are entering into discussion with our customers (about a hybrid Rolls)," Torsten Muller-Otvos, CEO, Rolls Royce Motor Cars told HT.
Rolls Royce's parent-company BMW has developed ActiveHybrid that combines gasoline engine and electric motor. Rolls could use this technology.
The company's global sales doubled and Indian sales increased nearly seven-fold mainly on the back of the less pricey Ghost (including customs duty, the car costs R2.5 crore in India whereas Rolls Royce Phantom is priced R3.5 crore upwards). When asked if the company is looking at lower-priced models in the wake of Ghost's success, Otvos said "No. Rolls Royce will always remain highly exclusive. We will not go below €200,000. We are not in the direction of pushing volumes".
The entrepreneurial boom that produced many billionaires make India a promising market for Rolls, according to Otvos.
"The youngest Rolls Royce owner happens to be a 24-year old Indian," he said. However, he declined to give details of this customer for privacy reasons. Otvos, in his visit to India will most probably sign up two more dealerships - one in south and another in north.