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Rolls-Royce in Chichester
... News from Goodwood - Archive 2001


The £60 million UK-based investment will create the world's most exclusive car plant with initially 350 new jobs and an all-new Rolls-Royce luxury sedan from 2003 onwards.

Greatest emphasis is put on sensitive landscaping and the use of latest production technology in terms of environmental effects.

The BMW Group has submitted a planning application to Chichester District Council for a new manufacturing plant and head office for its Rolls-Royce project, to be built at Goodwood, near Chichester, West Sussex.

The £60 million development is part of a major investment in Rolls-Royce by the BMW Group, which acquired the rights to the car brand in 1998 and takes over full business and production responsibilities in 2003. The new manufacturing facilities will produce an entirely new luxury saloon - the first model of a new generation of authentic Rolls-Royce automobiles, with a modern interpretation of the traditional values associated with this most famous of British car marques. The new home of Rolls-Royce will directly employ about 350 people, producing 1,000 cars a year on average.

The Managing Director of the Rolls-Royce project, Karl-Heinz Kalbfell, said: 'We are on track and on time with all aspects of this exciting project to create the world's most exclusive car manufacturing plant and to bring a new Rolls-Royce model to the market in 2003, which has been designed in the UK and will be built by craftspeople in the UK.'

The site of the new Rolls-Royce manufacturing plant and head office is adjacent to the Goodwood Estate and vehicle testing will be carried out on the nearby Goodwood Motor Circuit. Because of the essentially hand-crafted nature of the production process, only about five cars a day will be manufactured in surroundings reflecting the exclusivity and heritage of the UK motor industry's most famous name.

The choice of the location was announced in May this year after a thorough examination of alternative UK sites. Since then, there have been extensive discussions and consultations with local agencies, community groups and individuals with an interest in the scheme ahead of the formal submission of the planning application.

The location provides a unique combination of available specialist skills - many associated with the area's bespoke boat-building industry - and excellent transport links to airports and seaports. Customers from all over the world will be pleased to find many opportunities for cultural entertainment, sight-seeing and sports activities such as golf, sailing, flying, horse racing, and last but not least the famous historic motoring events at Goodwood.

Subject to the granting of planning permission, construction work on approximately ten acres of the total 30-acre site will start in the Spring of next year. The building phase will create a further 300 temporary jobs in the region, giving a boost to the local construction industry.

The design of the new Rolls-Royce facilities is the result of a competition, which was won by a leading firm of UK architects, Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners, who have been responsible for many award winning projects. The majority of buildings will be located partly below ground level in an area created by gravel extraction. The site will be extensively landscaped and screened and will have minimal impact and match the topography of the land.

The main roof will be a 'living green roof', which when viewed from outside will blend into the surrounding countryside. A specially constructed lake at the front of the buildings will receive rainwater from the roof and the site, which will be recycled.

As well as setting new and imaginative design standards for such a project, the complex will be the home of the future company for Rolls-Royce cars, employing approximately 350 people in 2003 in development, design, production, marketing and sales, as well as commercial and office operations. Customers will be encouraged to see their cars being built and it is expected that they and other visitors from throughout the world will visit the new Rolls-Royce headquarters, which will, in turn, benefit the local and regional economies.

(Munich) BMW Group - Project Rolls-Royce

Tuesday 13 February 2001 at The Vicar's Hall, Chichester

On Tuesday evening 13 February this year I attended a meeting in the Vicar's Hall in Chichester given by some of the BMW Group, Project Rolls-Royce team. The panel consisted of Fred Fruth (the PR man), Carsten Pries (Manager Strategy and Control), the head of the firm retained to present the planning application, and also a representative from the firm of Architects who won the competition to design the proposed factory. Both Fred and Carsten gave very good outlines of the proposals in addition to a visual presentation from the Architects. During and after these presentations Fred, Carsten and the 'planning' man answered questions from approximately thirty or forty members of the audience. Numerous questions were from local residents ('I will be able to see the new factory from my bedroom window'), local businesses ('with only 2% unemployment where will the labour come from?') and other interested parties ('you must be mad to build an underground factory in a flood plain') ('What about the effect on the road/transport infrastructure?') etc.

We were very impressed by the commitment of Fred and Carsten relaying the commitment of BMW to the 60/80 million project and in particular to its siting in the Chichester area. This being in addition to almost a billion pounds worth of planned investment in other parts of England. The aforementioned questions and others were all addressed and answered with a quiet confidence by a team who had obviously done their research. The message from the team was that this was not going to be a factory in the usual sense of the word; no belching chimneys, no loud processes, no mass production lines, no twenty-four hour working and no light pollution. The site would produce only five Rolls-Royce motor cars a day (1,000 a year) and therefore the impact on most sections of the environment would be minimal. It was pointed out by some members of the audience that the area had and was going to lose more large employers and that the 350 to 400 new jobs ('other than tomato picking'!) would be a very welcome replacement.

As the evening wore on it seemed that all those present welcomed the proposal, as it had been clearly considered and planned with all the environmental considerations given a very high profile.

Ted Meachem - Secretary of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts' Club, Central Southern Section

at the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts' Club HQ - 18 March 2001

The presentation was given by Fred Fruth at the invitation of the R-REC Management Committee. There were many interesting points that came out of it.

• Formal consideration of the planning application by Chichester District Council has been temporarily postponed to allow time for a response from the Environment Agency on additional information submitted (by Project R-R). They are reviewing the proposal and its impact on the local water environment, following the recent exceptional rainfall and a rise in the local ground water levels, with the aid of computer generated modelling.

• Representatives visited 10 Downing Street on Friday 16 March to give the government an update on the current status of the Project. This is of course in the light of the proposed general election, when government will be very quiet for a month or so, possibly slowing down any decisions/consultation with the Department of the Environment.

• A preliminary Project R-R office is opening in April 2001 and newly appointed staff are already undergoing training.

• It was emphasised that the project and the motor car was indeed a Rolls-Royce in its own right not just a re-modelled BMW. Certainly expertise but virtually no BMW components would be used.

• Fred Fruth is currently in our area giving presentations to interested parties and trying to dispel some mis-information which has appeared in the national and local Press.

Ted Meachem - Secretary of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts' Club, Central Southern Section

16 May 2001

On Friday 11 May the planning sub-committee of Chichester District Council voted by 14 to 1 in favour to recommend to the full planning committee meeting on 22 May 2001 to support the proposal. However apart from the full planning committee decision the DETR has also to be consulted and despite a general election in the offing it is hoped that the government will 'fast-track' the decision process as they have promised.

The sub-committee councillors voted to accept a report that said that the economic benefits to Chichester and a wider area of West Sussex out-weighed any potential harm to the countryside. It is expected that the proposal would create a great deal of business locally in the construction phase and the ongoing boost to the local economy would be around 14.7 million per year. This figure rises to 24.4 million if the multiplier effect is taken into account (including spending on goods and services by the company and its employees locally). Critics of the scheme were allowed to address a special meeting of the council's development control committee before the vote was taken.

Ted Meachem - Secretary of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts' Club, Central Southern Section

Update 24 May 2001

On Tuesday 22 May Chichester District Council voted by 34 votes in favour and only 6 against to agree with its Planning Committee to approve proposals for the above. The matter will now be referred to the DETR but of course the forthcoming general election will slow down the government's (present or new) decision.

The decision is a very important step towards achieving BMW's goal of establishing the new home for Rolls-Royce motor cars at Goodwood, creating in excess of 350 new jobs and giving a substantial boost to the local economy. This should now mean the new Rolls-Royce motor car will be launched in early 2003.

There is a great deal of work to be carried out at the proposed site, firstly the extraction of gravel and then the building of the complex. Subject to the above, it is hoped that this will commence in/by August 2001.

Fred Fruth - BMW Group: Project Rolls-Royce

Update 21 June 2001

Chichester District Council issued a news release on 19 June 2001 as follows:

Chichester District Council is today celebrating the decision of the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions not to intervene in the planning process for a new Rolls-Royce head office and manufacturing plant at Westhampnett.

Jane Chevis, Leader of CDC said: 'This is tremendous news for the Chichester economy. We are working with BMW on legal and technical issues* which we hope to agree soon, then we can look forward to putting Chichester on the map as a place to do business. The district is already attracting a lot of attention as a centre for professional and high-tech businesses but we have been concerned about a gradual exodus of manufacturing industry both overseas and to other parts of the country. Rolls-Royce is one of the few global brands and we are cock-a-hoop at being able to ensure the company stays in Britain and particularly Chichester.'

*A Section 106 Agreement

24 August 2001

Rolls-Royce Manufacturing Plant and Head Office at Goodwood
An aerial perspective of the new Rolls-Royce Manufacturing Plant and Head Office at Goodwood
Artists Impression: Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners

The final go ahead has been given by all relevant authorities to the proposed new Manufacturing Plant and Head Office for Rolls-Royce automobiles at Goodwood, home of the Earl of March, near Chichester, West Sussex. A new Rolls-Royce model will be manufactured at the plant from 2003 onwards.

Says Karl-Heinz Kalbfell, Senior Vice President BMW Group Marketing and Director of the Rolls-Royce Project:

"We made very good progress in bringing into realisation what is probably the most unique project in car manufacturing worldwide. Our goal is to lead this most prestigious of all car brands into a prosperous and profitable future as an independent company within the BMW Group. It will continue to produce in England authentic Rolls-Royce automobiles with a modern interpretation of all its traditional values."

Earth moving work has started as part of the first phase of construction of the new facility. Designed by one of Britain's top architects, Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners of London, who have received awards for examples of 'green architecture', the entire building complex will partly be sunk into the ground. The roof area will be covered in living plants, thus blending perfectly with the countryside of Goodwood.

BMW acquired the rights to the Rolls-Royce brand for automotive business from its owner Rolls-Royce plc in 1998 and will take over full responsibility, including production and distribution, in 2003. In conjunction with setting up an independent worldwide distribution network appropriate locations for dealerships have been identified; preliminary agreements have already been signed.

Equally, the development of the all new Rolls-Royce sedan is at a very advanced stage: prototypes were subjected to extensive winter testing in northern Scandinavia last winter and are currently undergoing further testing under extremely hot climate conditions.

For further enquiries please contact:

Fred Fruth, General Manager, Public Affairs,
Project Rolls-Royce, Unit 5, Vinnetrow Farm Business Park, Runcton, Chichester, West Sussex PO20 6QH

24 October 2001

The first phase of recruitment for the new state-of-the-art Rolls-Royce Manufacturing Plant and Head Office currently under construction at Goodwood, near Chichester, is beginning this week with advertisements for skilled people to join the team.

Eventually around 350 people will be employed at the £60 million future home of Rolls-Royce. They will produce and market an all-new generation of motor cars, to be launched in early 2003.

As construction gets underway, Project Rolls-Royce is now advertising for up to 80 people this year, to be followed by a further 150 jobs next year.

The new positions will range from paint shop, vehicle assembly and logistics to wood and leather shop.

According to Karl-Heinz Kalbfell, BMW Group Senior Vice-President Marketing and Director of the Rolls-Royce Project, "the new home for one of the world's most prestigious brands and for the new motor car will be built to the highest standards within the automotive industry. Therefore we are looking to recruit high calibre, skilled people to participate in our success.

"Those selected will be part of one of the most challenging and exciting automotive ventures of recent times."

Project Rolls-Royce is inviting suitably qualified people to apply in writing, enclosing a CV, to:

BMW Group, Project Rolls-Royce,
HR Department, Unit 5, Vinnetrow Farm Business Park, Runcton, Chichester, West Sussex PO20 6QH

25 November 2001

RR Manufacturing Plant site
An historic moment, pictured on (a very wet) Sunday 25 November 2001.   Photo: Ian Burt

The very first Rolls-Royce motor cars to visit the future home of the world's most prestigious car brand, currently under construction at Goodwood, near Chichester - less than ten miles from West Wittering, where Sir F Henry Royce used to live and work. The all new Manufacturing Plant and Head Office for Rolls-Royce motor cars will start operations officially on 1 January 2003. It has been designed by one of Britain's most prominent architects, Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners, who became famous with their futuristic design of the 'Eden Project' in Cornwall. The new enterprise will be a stand-alone British subsidiary of the BMW Group who acquired the rights to the Rolls-Royce brand for automotive business. It will continue to design and produce in England authentic Rolls-Royce motor cars with a modern interpretation of all the marque's traditional values.

Fred Fruth, General Manager, Public Affairs, BMW Group, Project Rolls-Royce

21 December 2001

The £60 million project to create the new home for Rolls-Royce motor cars at Goodwood, near Chichester is on target for the first all-new motor car to be produced and delivered in January 2003. 'The timetable is challenging but achievable for the team,' said Karl-Heinz Kalbfell, Senior Vice President BMW Group Marketing and Director of the Rolls-Royce Project.

Construction work on the uniquely designed manufacturing plant and head office, which will feature Europe's biggest 'green roof' - 35,000 square metres of living sedum plants, to blend in with the surrounding rural landscape - will be completed before the end of next year.

Since planning permission was granted last summer, the site has made good progress with steelwork for the manufacturing areas already erected. In conjunction with construction work, extensive landscaping has been carried out on site with mounds, lakes and swales being built.

Local recruitment is also at an advanced stage. More than one thousand applications were received until the end of November. The employees being selected to join the team by the end of this year represent a cross-section of the skills required in manufacturing, including specialist leather and woodworking, as well as in Finance, Sales & Marketing, HR and PR areas.

Dealer candidates have been nominated for the UK home market as well as for various countries on mainland Europe and for other overseas markets.

Following the approval of the final design for the all-new Rolls-Royce motor car, tooling and parts are now being released to enable series production. The motor cars will be built to individual customer specification, in the tradition of Rolls-Royce manufacturing.

Fred Fruth, General Manager, Public Affairs, BMW Group, Project Rolls-Royce

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