Rolls-Royce chooses to keep using German-built V12 engines instead of bringing production to the UK

Rolls-Royce will continue to use German-built V12 engines rather than invest in a British assembly line, unlike rival Bentley, which is ramping up local production of W12 engines.

Frank Ludwig, production head at Rolls' Goodwood plant, said: “To make engines, you need a lot of expertise and at the moment the best place to source the V12 is from Germany.” 

Thanks to the introduction of the Wraith coupé, Rolls-Royce increased car output last year to about 3300 units, a number that cements Goodwood as the biggest user of V12 engines in the BMW group.

Despite this growth in production at Goodwood, Ludwig said the industrial logic of building engines in Germany remains unchanged because the development of 'V' engines needs to be concentrated in one place to ensure that maximum learning can be applied to design and development.

Rolls shares the basic hardware of the BMW V engines. However, the bulk of the parts in the 6.8-litre naturally-aspirated V12 in the Phantom and 6.6-litre twin-turbo engine in the Ghost and Wraith are unique. They are developed alongside BMW versions, allowing learning to cross-pollinate from the mainstream development programme to Rolls’ lower production-volume units.

Because Rolls’ Goodwood site is already pushing the perimeter of the land area available, there are also practical limits to adding more facilities to the site to cope with both production and development.

Bentley aims to build about 9000 W12 engines by 2017-2018 for the whole Volkswagen Group, up from around 5000 units historically. 

Join the debate

Comments
8

12 May 2014

Look, I'd like to make an intelligent comment on the facts of this (non) report, about something wasn't going to happen and now it isn't, but can't get past the word "eschews"
Does anyone really use that word? I looked it up and, yes, it does exist, but.
Anyway, I'm sure BMW are doing the right, rational, logical thing here and buyers would probably prefer German manufactured engines if asked. So good luck. Who'd have thought BMW would go on to make such a success of RR?

Aussie Rob - a view from down under

12 May 2014

"Eschews" is a nice word. I use it, but only very occasionally. I think it's in keeping with an article about Rolls Royce.

12 May 2014

Aren't the entire platforms of Rolls-Royces shipped in from Germany, too? Not to mention electronics, transmissions etc. I thought Goodwood was mostly a craftsmanship workshop? While I'm not a fan of the Bentley Mulsanne's looks, it's more 'British' if that sort of thing appeals to potential buyers.

12 May 2014

With a name (and vocabulary) like that - reckon you'd be fun! If ever you're over, let me know and we can down a few and compare languages.

Aussie Rob - a view from down under

12 May 2014

I believe its an opportunity missed.

Is it better to have a Royce V12 built in UK, or a BMW V12 built in Germany? For both BMW and Royce-branded cars I believe its the former.

12 May 2014

BMW have some of the best track record for building engines so their decision would have merit although in this digital era they can build the engine in the UK if they wanted to and remain as good. Bring back the old R-R V8!

12 May 2014

Was there ever a specific choice that had to be made here or is this a contrived story by a journalist without copy for a deadline?

Rolls Royce in not changing shocker! In other news, Ferrari have NOT decided to swap all their engines and replace them with Ford Focus engines.


30 June 2014

So Rolls Royce doesn't have the expertise to build engines. Right. I think it's more likely the case that the majority of the V12s built by the group are used in BMWs.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Citroën C4 Grand Picasso
    First Drive
    26 August 2016
    The Citroën Grand C4 Picasso gets tweaked styling, improved tech and new personalisation options to keep it ahead of rivals
  • Car review
    26 August 2016
    Wolfsburg celebrates the GTI’s 40th with its most extreme version yet
  • Kia Optima Sportwagon
    First Drive
    25 August 2016
    New Kia estate looks the part, has good space and handles tidily, but its engine's flexibility and refinement let it down
  •  Kia Optima PHEV
    First Drive
    25 August 2016
    Plug-in hybrid Optima is a practical, tax-efficient PHEV that undercuts rivals and fulfils its main remit well, but keen drivers need not apply
  • Lamborghini Huracán LP610-4 Spyder
    First Drive
    24 August 2016
    Awful driving position aside, drop-top Huracán handles UK roads well. It's more dynamically rounded than its rangemates, but lacks rivals' handling bite