Two of Britain's upper crust brands come to verbal blows.
The chief executive of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Torsten Müller-Otvös, has savagely dismissed Aston Martin's plan to steal its customers using electricity and autonomy under the recently re-launched Lagonda banner. According to the Financial Times, Müller-Ötvös said the sports car maker has "zero clue" about attracting rich motorists after Aston Martin promised to raid Rolls-Royce's exclusive client list, starting with those looking to switch to electric vehicles.
The problem started when Aston design chief, Marek Reichman, got uppity during an interview with Autocar. "It's a game changer for luxury products in the future, what luxury can be and what it will be. The world is changing, but look at luxury: it's still very traditional. Luxury and technology haven't been combined yet," Reichman said of the Lagonda concept. "Look at Rolls-Royce: it's the most luxurious car in the world. 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." That was before he referred to Rolls as "Ancient Greece."
Reichmen's clearly calculated comments to the British magazine got even stranger in the context of his promise to take a bite out of Rolls-Royce's legendary clientele in the not to distant, but eventual future. "The world will be more extreme, and customers expect it. You can't see Apple or Google executives in a Phantom. You can see them in this." But you see, Silicon Valley executives already aren't a part of Rolls' client book, so how the Lagonda brand plans to go about stealing something that isn't there to be taken remains questionable. Torsten picked up on the aimlessness.
"They really don't understand our segment, they really don't understand the customers. 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." With BMW-backing it's not like this is unfamiliar territory for Rolls-Royce, which basically defined what the future of luxury motoring would be in 2016 when it debuted the electric, autonomous, stupendous, and ethereally opulent 103X concept as part of BMW's Vision 100 celebrations. In fact, Rolls is so incensed about the whole ordeal, it even went so far as to put out a press release asserting the 103X's influence two years on from launch.
"When we revealed 103EX to the world in 2016, Rolls-Royce set the agenda for the future of luxury mobility. 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," said Torsten in the release. But really, the whole thing is little more than simply hilarious. Don't you wish automakers would fight more often?