At the Geneva motor show, Aston revealed the Lagonda Vision concept, which previews a radical new electric, autonomous saloon concept that’s due to make production in 2021. Rolls has today said that it came with a concept with that very brief back in 2016: the Vision Next 100, codenamed 103EX.
“When we revealed 103EX to the world in 2016, Rolls-Royce set the agenda for the future of luxury mobility,” said company chief Torsten Müller-Ötvös. “Since then, it has become clear that other car brands have acknowledged our vision, so much so that they have adopted most aspects, apart from the most visionary and radical. Rolls-Royce’s vision in 2016 was, and remains, all-electric, completely autonomous, completely bespoke mobility – coupled with ultimate luxury.”
Müller-Ötvös's comments and response follow Aston Martin Lagonda design boss Marek Reichman’s own comments to Autocar on how he views the current state of luxury cars and brands, including Rolls and Bentley.
“Rolls-Royce and Bentley are Ancient Greece today,” he told Autocar ahead of the Geneva show. “I worked on the original Phantom. The brief was Buckingham Palace on wheels. It was important to do that to establish it. But the world has changed, and the royals have changed.”
Reichman also said “you can’t see Apple or Google executives in a Phantom” but you could in a Lagonda, and that current luxury cars were based around an imperfect package essentially carried over from the days of horse-drawn carriages.
“Look at Rolls-Royce: it’s the most luxurious car in the world,” he said. “Given its roots, its reason for being, it’s essentially still an internal combustion engine to replace a horse, a carriage and a trunk. It’s an imperfect package for luxury.”
Müller-Ötvös also responded to Reichman’s quotes to the Financial Times in an interview at the Geneva motor show.
“They really don’t understand our segment, they really don’t understand the customers,” he said. “They are in a complete different league on pricing, they have zero clue what’s going on in the upper, upper segment – zero. I am sorry to be so blunt.”