Currently reading: Rolls-Royce boss Torsten Muller-Otvos on the new Cullinan
We've spoken to the chief executive officer of Rolls-Royce about his new baby

The hotly anticipated Cullinan is finally here, so we've caught up with the boss of the brand, Torsten Müller-Otvos, to gauge what impact it's likely to have on his company.

Just how important to Rolls-Royce’s future is the launch of Cullinan?

It’s enormously important. Cullinan redefines the parameters of super-luxury travel. Our customers have been waiting a long time for a motor car that offers uncompromised luxury wherever the owner dares to venture. Cullinan is that car.

Do you think Cullinan’s arrival will change the Rolls-Royce brand?

Well, Cullinan is certainly a very big departure for us. We’re moving into the very top echelon of a highly competitive and thickly populated sector, so we will definitely meet customers we’ve not known before. But the big response to our latest cars shows that our brand values are clear and well understood.

Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV revealed

How important are the latest Goodwood production changes to Cullinan’s launch?

They are absolutely key. We needed our new architecture to have any chance of making cars as different as Rolls-Royce Dawn [convertible] and Cullinan [SUV] using just-in- time principles on the same flexible line. For that we had to reform and reshape the whole production system. We have invested millions in manufacturing at Goodwood, and in a new technology and logistics centre in Bognor Regis. And it is already paying off.

How hard was it, telling BMW’s bosses you didn’t want to use their chassis components any more?

It wasn’t as difficult as you’d think. They listened to our case and agreed that make authentic Rolls-Royces we needed our own architecture. We’re really grateful they allowed us to depart from the first arrangement, because it is the key to everything. That kind of flerxibility is what makes BMW so brilliant.  

Opinion: Rolls-Royce Cullinan - it's what's underneath that counts

Is Cullinan configured for hybrid and electric versions in the future?

Absolutely. This architecture is a well thought-out, strategic programme. It is ready for electrification and other changes as well.

We hear the number of people who order special equipment for their Rolls-Royces is expanding: is this true?

It certainly is. Around 70% of our buyers order extra equipment through our Bespoke department, and we’re making it easier by fitting special equipment on the line. Last year over 1000 people came to Goodwood, just to choose the colour, trim and equipment for their new Rolls-Royces. 


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Steve Cropley

Steve Cropley Autocar
Title: Editor-in-chief

Steve Cropley is the oldest of Autocar’s editorial team, or the most experienced if you want to be polite about it. He joined over 30 years ago, and has driven many cars and interviewed many people in half a century in the business. 

Cropley, who regards himself as the magazine’s “long stop”, has seen many changes since Autocar was a print-only affair, but claims that in such a fast moving environment he has little appetite for looking back. 

He has been surprised and delighted by the generous reception afforded the My Week In Cars podcast he makes with long suffering colleague Matt Prior, and calls it the most enjoyable part of his working week.

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Spanner 10 May 2018

Are we allowed these days... call someone’s baby ugly? Is this a valid example? 

RCT V 10 May 2018

Merlin and Griffon names for Rolls Royce V12 engines

Rolls Royce Cars V12 engines can adopt the names of Merlin, and of Griffon . . . . . 

The introduction of the Cullinan, clearly demonstrates and confirms, the intention and commitment of Rolls Royce Cars to delight those of their customers who wish to participate in this burgeoning market segment.

It might have been thought that Rolls Royce Cars would similarly wish to further delight its customers, by adopting for its (automotive) V12 engines, the names historically - and, affectionately - associated with the earlier Rolls Royce aeronautical V12 engines.

Whilst many owners of Rolls Royce vehicles may not even know how to - never mind wish to - raise the bonnet of their vehicles, such delight and pleasure would derive simply in knowing what is under the bonnet, the provenance of its name, and its historical context!

The names of MERLIN , and of GRIFFON , are now both protected as Registered Trade Marks to be used in the automotive sector.

Inexplicably - for the moment - their use has been declined by Rolls Royce Cars.

HHX621 10 May 2018

Looks decent


RR improving.. .