A new Dawn
Laura Cartledge discovers how the latest model fits into the Rolls-Royce story.
Dawn is more than just a name for the latest Rolls-Royce model, as it also gives a nod towards what is a new direction for the prestigious brand.
Not only is it hoped the £250,000 car will attract a ‘new, younger, modern customer’, the ‘sexiest Rolls-Royce ever built’ – as described by CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes – also has its headlights set on fuelling a female fan base.
This makes sense when you learn that male buyers are currently said to account for 70 per cent of the super luxury manufacturer’s sales.
“It is a new age for Rolls-Royce,” said communications manager Andrew Ball at the exclusive launch, a sentiment which was echoed by the rest of the Goodwood based team.
“Our new Rolls-Royce Dawn promises a striking, seductive encounter like no other Rolls-Royce to date,” enthused Torsten. “And begins a new age of open-top, super-luxury motoring.”
The focus might have been firmly on the future, but there was also a sense of Dawn building on the past by following in the tyre tracks of the previous models.
“The early morning darkness is where apparitions appear ghosts, wraths, phantoms and they get chased away by a new dawn of new opportunities of the new day,” said Torsten.
“Now at Rolls-Royce Phantoms, Ghosts and Wraths are no apparitions they are in fact the background and the very real reason we have had five successful consecutive years.”
Last year this success culminated in more than 4,000 new Rolls-Royces being commissioned, making it another record breaker.
In addition, the booming business has resulted in 200 new jobs being created over the last two years, which brings the total number of employees at the plant to 1,500.
While Dawn is ‘part of the Ghost Family’ Frank Ludwig, director of manufacturing, was keen to point out that it might ‘share elements’ but it is ‘a very different car’.
“The roof is the key characteristic,” he insisted. “The speed you can open and close it was a demand from our customers – when it starts to rain you want to be able to do that quickly.”
The bespoke nature of Rolls-Royce means customers can also have a say in many of the car’s other features.
But as much as bespoke design manager Gavin Hartley said ‘the limit is the customer’s imagination’ he also admitted there was a line and the brand wouldn’t ‘want to compromise our standards’.
Building on this, and in turn the brand’s rich history, can also be seen with Dawn as it presents a tangible link to the past and, in particular, one model created over a century ago.
“At Rolls-Royce we understand what a truly luxury item should be, it should be unique, handcrafted comfortable, beautiful and above all rare,” enthused Torsten.
“The new Rolls-Royce Dawn has been inspired by one of the most rare Rolls-Royces ever – The Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn Drophead Coupe.
“Only 28 were made by coach builders in the late 40s and 50s.”
He went on to add that this all made Dawn ‘like no Rolls-Royce ever before’ deeming it ‘the most informal of super luxury vehicles’ and one which ‘you can drive and enjoy every day’.
Response so far, according to Rolls-Royce’s corporate communications manager Andrew Ball, has been ‘fantastic’ with interest from around the world. However, with new audiences and a new direction in its sights, only time will tell if this ‘sexy’, ‘everyday’ and ‘conversational’ car will hit the mark.
Social super-luxury car
Giles Taylor, director of design, says; “in the world of Rolls-Royce, day to day mathematical norms don’t always apply. That’s why I say in the case of the new Rolls-Royce Dawn, two plus two does not equal four.”
While this might sound like bad arithmetic, what he refers to is Dawn bucking the trend of other cars in the sector which, at most, offer seating for two in the front and two ‘occasional passengers or children’ in the rear.
The lack of space also sees a reduction of ‘comfort and practicality’, something Rolls-Royce considers to be ‘compromised and anti-social’, and therefore has worked to address.
“At Rolls-Royce, we pride ourselves as creators of fine motor cars that also serve as social spaces,” comments Giles.
“The idea of creating a car like Dawn that can be used in comfort by only two adults on a day to day basis is anathema.
“In creating Dawn we have accepted no compromise to the comfort and luxury of four adults who want to travel together in the pinnacle of style.”
For more information about Rolls-Royce, visit www.rolls-roycemotorcars.com