Rolls-Royce plans plant expansion, but not to build more cars

Rolls-Royce has received regulatory approval for an application to expand its Goodwood plant in the U.K., and plans to start construction of the new additions to the site soon.

However, the expansion isn’t aimed at enabling Rolls-Royce to grow volumes beyond the record 6,032 vehicles it delivered in 2023. Instead, it’s to enable even more personalization, Rolls-Royce’s new chief, Chris Brownridge, told Autocar in an interview published on Wednesday.

“Our strategy moving forward isn’t to grow volume,” he said. “It’s to grow the bespoke content of the cars, because that’s what makes it a special experience for our clients.”

Brownridge, who took over the lead role from long-standing chief Torsten Müller-Ötvös late last year, said the current plant was built when Rolls-Royce was delivering less than 1,500 vehicles annually.

Rolls-Royce Droptail (Amethyst)

In addition to volumes growing four times since then, demand for personalization has also grown to reach 100% of all orders. Rolls-Royce in recent years has also started production of one-off and extremely low-volume cars, the latest being the four-car Droptail collection.

According to Brownridge, the plant expansion will enable the automaker to overcome certain bottlenecks in the current production process. An example is the paint shop, which is limited to applying two-tone color schemes on 15% of orders when demand is at more than 50% of orders.

Brownridge’s predecessor led Rolls-Royce for 14 years. However, Brownridge also has plenty of experience in the industry. He was previously in charge of BMW in the U.K., and has worked at various BMW Group positions for the past 30 years.

Rolls-Royce isn’t the only BMW Group brand with a new chief. Mini on Monday announced that Stefan Richmann will take over as its chief from Stefanie Wurst on Aug. 1. Wurst only held the position for two years. In a LinkedIn post, she said she is about to “embark on a new chapter.”