LUXURY car firm Rolls-Royce has announced it is to launch a 4x4 vehicle.
It was revealed in an open letter from chairman Peter Schwarzenbauer and chief executive Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes yesterday as Prime Minister David Cameron toured the carmaker near Chichester.
Motoring expert James Baggott, of Gosport’s Blackball Media, said the move by Rolls-Royce comes as a surprise but more luxury car manufacturers are launching SUVs.
He added: ‘4x4s make brilliant luxury cars – you only have to look at Range Rover for that.
‘For years people have said they were the Rolls-Royce of the 4x4 world. It seems someone in Goodwood has taken that literally and decided they better get on with one of their own.’
The letter said Rolls-Royce engineers were challenged to create an ‘exceptional new car’.
It went on: ‘We will take our time in developing and perfecting this new concept in luxury.
‘Until then, rest assured, we are creating a motor car in the greatest traditions of our marque.’
Mr Cameron hailed Rolls-Royce as a ‘world leader’ for taking on apprentices and used his visit to the Westhampnett factory to talk about his government’s record on unemployment.
He said: ‘We haven’t solved or tackled all of unemployment, but we have got 1.85m more people in work today than when I became Prime Minister.’
An environmentalist says the news is a mixed blessing.
Tim Dawes, the Green prospective parliamentary candidate for Havant, said: ‘It is great for local people who will hopefully be making this vehicle.
‘But I don’t think large Chelsea tractors with Rolls-Royce badges on are the way the world should be going.
‘I know that some people do need them.
‘I would encourage them to look at options that include a sustainable fuel source.’