To the Editor,
I too share Philip Hall's 'amazement' (in the June 5 issue) at the choice of a site near Goodwood for the manufacture of Rolls-Royce motor cars under the BMW emblem.
I had expected Derby to be the most obvious choice; availability of labor, 'free' land within the Rolls-Royce 'enclave,' excellent motorway infrastructure and superior logistics of parts supply being four of my justifications.
While the area around Goodwood near the south coast of England is a delightful part of the world, it is not noted, at least in my mind, for those particular manufacturing crafts and skills that are so necessary to build the 'ultimate' luxury vehicle. These are more readily available in the English midlands, but possibly they come with a mindset that might haunt or bedevil BMW.
I can only think that lower wage rates near Goodwood proved overwhelmingly attractive; so too the lower costs of land, buildings, et cetera.
Also, by starting from a 'clean sheet,' BMW can create its own business away from prying eyes and introduce its own particular management culture. Though I suspect substantial investment in training will be needed to achieve the best results.
However, Lotus has shown that it is possible to create a car manufacturing and technology enterprise in a largely agrarian region - so too, to a lesser extent, firms like Morgan and TVR. And one should not forget high-tech businesses like Ricardo Consulting and Daewoo in Worthing, also on England's south coast.
So possibly BMW will prove me wrong with a facility that can create thoroughbreds befitting the title 'best cars in the world.'
Even so, I am sorry that future Rolls-Royce motor cars will no longer be British through and through. I am just about coming to terms with the fact that we, the British, may have won the war, but we have certainly lost the peace.