The agreement 12 months ago that split Rolls-Royce Motor Cars between BMW and Volkswagen was so confusing that many of us expected the parties to find a way to undo it.
But the two sides seem to be drifting even further apart. VW will offer an alternative to the BMW engine that is fitted in the Bentley Arnage. And BMW Chairman Joachim Milberg said recently that he wants to build a 'real' Rolls-Royce somewhere other than Rolls' home in Crewe, England.
So Rolls and Bentley will apparently separate as planned in 2003. And why not? They deserve their own futures.
But consideration must be given to the dealers who invested heavily to prepare their stores for the Silver Seraph and Arnage. The future of the franchise needs to be clarified for dealers - and soon.
BMW and Volkswagen ought to consider an agreement to keep the franchise intact. The two super-luxury brands could continue to be sold from the same retail sites, even if they belong to different companies. The efficiencies would benefit manufacturers, dealers and customers. The two brands work well under one roof, better than if joined with other brands in their respective groups, like BMW and Audi.