MUNICH -- Rolls-Royce will develop an ultraluxury SUV in a major diversification for the BMW-owned British brand known for its luxury sedans.
CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes today said the company will develop a car that offers "the luxury of a Rolls-Royce in a vehicle that can cross any terrain."
The high-bodied car will be underpinned by an all-new aluminum architecture, Mueller-Oetvoes said in a statement.
Rolls-Royce said it had decided to make a luxury off-roader after consulting with its clients. The model will be built at its Goodwood plant in England and will enter the market in about three years' time, the company said.
Mueller-Oetvoes' statement today confirms hints he dropped earlier this year about a new Rolls-Royce SUV.
Rolls-Royce is proud of the exclusivity of its cars, which command prices of 200,000 euros ($228,000) or more. The company has long hesitated over whether to build an SUV, worried that it may stretch the brand too far.
"The SUV is the hottest product in all vehicle segments," Metzler Bank automotive analyst Juergen Pieper said. "SUVs sell well in the United States and in all emerging markets, where the road infrastructure may not be the best. For Rolls it is a shift to growth."