Rolls-Royce to Use 2019 Phantom Platform for Cullinan
Rolls-Royce Wants to Maintain its Brand Individuality, references Bentley Bentayga
It has been an increasingly popular trend in the automotive industry for manufacturers to share platforms across their vehicle segments. Since 2007, Volkswagen Group has used modular platforms in most of its cars and SUVs, which have yielded both more efficient production and better engineering consistency across vehicle lineups.
Volkswagen Group’s MLB platform, announced in 2012, is a shared modular chassis, which serves as a base for several Audi and VW models, including Audi's Q5 (from 2008 to 2016), A5 (2007-2016), A6, A7, and A8. In 2015, the MLBevo platform was debuted, which now houses almost everything from the 2015 B9 A4 to the Bentley Bentayga , one of Volkswagen Group’s largest and most expensive SUVs.
VW is not the only auto manufacturer to do this of course. Nearly all industry giants implement this modular platform strategy. But some are more critical of the practice than others, especially when platforms are shared across brands that hold vast differences in brand identity and customer demographics.
Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes said on Wednesday that the company’s new “all-terrain, high-sided vehicle," better known as the Cullinan, will not share a platform with any of BMW’s offerings. This is a departure from the norm for Rolls Royce. In the past it has benefited from sharing with its parent company BMW, as the current generation Rolls-Royce Ghost and Wraith both share a platform with the BMW F01 7 Series. But for both the 2019 Cullinan and Phantom, the vehicles will share a uniquely Rolls-Royce platform, which is a point of pride for Rolls CEO Mueller-Oetvoes.
"We are not using mass-manufactured body shells," he said at the Phantom launch in London. "That limits what you can do on the design side, and it undermines exclusivity massively. You don't want a camouflaged [Audi] Q7 in that segment. You want to have a true Rolls-Royce."
Given the expected price point of the Rolls-Royce crossover, the Bentley Bentayga will be the Phantom-based people carrier’s biggest rival, which Mueller-Oetvoes criticizes as just a dressed up Audi Q7 because both SUVs share VW Group’s MLBevo platform.
Either way, we expect the 2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan to make a big splash in the ultra-luxury SUV market when deliveries start in early 2019. Bentley, the ball is in your court now.
Source: Automotive News Europe