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evo: Let’s talk about the SUV…
Giles: It’s going to be an all-terrain vehicle, a Rolls-Royce version of the Sports Utility Vehicle.
evo: What is the Rolls-Royce version?
Giles: It’s going to be a high bodied car. It will have all the luxury and the magic of say, a Phantom. The experience, the sense of magic carpet ride will be a part of the vehicle just like all our cars. It will sit right at the top of the product line. So it will be a a high bodied car, a king. It will be a king of its category. People must always notice a Rolls-Royce, the presence of it, the authority.
evo: What is the thing they will notice?
Giles: Sense of elegance in its proportion, the classic limousine lines to start with. Even with graphics, there has to be a sense of elegance and proportions. Purity, it also has to be pure and also very fashionable without losing its sense of timelessness. And reverence, yes. It has to be a typical Rolls-Royce, the brand. It should have the qualities, values that are associated with the brand. You are also aware of the kind of people that drive it. The design has to be inherent in the design. When the owner enters the room, you ought to know that he drives a Rolls-Royce, whether he is short, tall or fat.
evo: So there is obviously a market for this car but does it have a precedent?
Giles: Yes. We have vehicles that went deep into the jungles of India, we have vehicles that went into the vehicles of Africa, nearly 100 years ago. They had fantastic abilities and they were perfectly setup as well. They were designed to travel through rough terrains, not all terrains.
evo: Inspiration comes from the maharajas of India then?
Giles: Absolutely. You are aware that for Tiger hunting, they used to go deep into the jungles. The cars were based on Ghost’s platform have also been to the deserts of Africa. Even King George’s father drove it in the desert in the 1930s.
evo: What is new with Rolls-Royce’s design language?
Giles: We are trying to make it a bit more emotional and expressive. So get some sensual lines, not in a feminine way and that will bring somewhat younger mindset in to Rolls-Royce. We follow our principles, something more contemporary, something cooler. The design language also has to appeal to the board. We also want it to be liked by the young people from your region and also the Far East markets. The age range of 25-35 year olds, the guys who like Bugatti Veyrons, Chirons. We want them to like it as a contemporary brand, not just a luxury car.
evo: You said that the cars need to stand out. Most of the Rolls-Royce cars are daunting.
Giles: Yes, it has to do with the physical presence but it has to have correct proportions. Some really like the cars to have presence while some people like the proportions. Some brands miss out on the presence because of the proportions. So my job is to get the proportions right, so that I can add nice lines and details. If we miss out on presence and proportions, then maybe we will miss out on Rolls-Royce, the brand.
evo: How do you differentiate the ‘Black Badged’ cars, other than them being black?
Giles: It’s stealthy and depending on the environment you drive it in, it stands out; a dark theme representing Rolls-Royce. If somebody has a special power, they need to brag about it. They can be stealthy and yet powerful. If you go to Florida and put 24-inch wheels and paint everything black then you are selling yourself out completely to make a statement. We think we have done enough to show the dark side without going overboard. It has enough stealth without going into the customised area much. It has sophisticated, dark and gentle moves to it. It will mostly be available throughout the Rolls-Royce range.
evo: So are you going to make a V16 engine?
Giles: No. We think 12 make enough power.