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Rolls-Royce in Chichester
... News from Goodwood - Archive 2002

23 January 2002

Munich: As from 1 March 2002 Anthony D Gott (45) will take over full responsibility for the Rolls-Royce business unit within BMW Group. Following the project phase under Karl-Heinz Kalbfell (52), Senior Vice President Group Marketing of BMW AG, he will now complete its transfer to the new premises at Goodwood in the south of England and chair the future company. Having been the chief executive of Rolls-Royce & Bentley Motor Cars Limited at Crewe, Tony Gott will bring to this role his long established experience with the brand.

BMW Group acquired the rights to the marque for Rolls-Royce automotive business in July 1998, thus expanding its premium brand strategy with an authentic brand into the very top segment of the car market. Planning and completion of the intitial project phase has been directed by Kalbfell, who is responsible for the overall strategy including the new manufacturing plant and head office, the setting up of the project team and a worldwide distribution network, as well as the development of an all new luxury saloon. At the beginning of the year 2003 delivery of the first Rolls-Royce motor car produced at Goodwood will take place.

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

13 February 2002

Held at The Ship Hotel, Chichester, the meeting hosted a presentation by BMW Group Project Rolls-Royce. The presentation was given by Fred Fruth (General Manager, Public Affairs), Martin Lewis (Technical Purchasing, Non-Production) and Peter Randall (HR Manager).

Fred spoke first and ran briefly over the progress of the Project from the time of the sale of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars by Vickers plc to the Volkswagen Group. It was one year to the exact day that I was first invited by Ian and Jennifer Burt to attend the Chamber meeting at which Fred and Carsten Pries (and the Architects for Project Rolls-Royce) gave details of their proposals and planning application for a new manufacturing plant and Head Office at Goodwood (a report on that meeting can be found earlier in this News section). In addition to other information Fred said that following the successful planning application construction work at the site was proceeding well and on time. The steelwork structure was virtually complete now and the cladding work had started. This means that the facility will, no doubt, be ready for car related work in the autumn.

Martin Lewis said that he had spent forty-two years in purchasing and described the BMW policy on purchasing which required quality and value in all aspects of performance. He said the company did not advertise for suppliers but invited members of the Chamber to contact him with regard to non-production supplies.

Peter Randall spoke of the Project's close training involvement with the local education establishments. He also said that recruitment of local staff members was well underway with more than two thousand applications received up to date.

There were some questions from the floor and also a hearty endorsement of the Project's aims and achievements to date.

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

8 June 2002

Goodwood, Chichester. With the completion on plan of major areas of the all new state-of-the-art manufacturing plant and head office for the future Rolls-Royce motor car company, specialist staff have moved in to set up their respective work areas and have started work on the first example of the new luxury four-door saloon to be hand built at Goodwood.

Over 250 people of Project Rolls-Royce are now located at the new premises and are involved in the final stages of preparations for the 'Goodwood Era' for Rolls-Royce motor cars. All of the departments for the new business are now directly supporting the new facilities at Goodwood. Meanwhile local recruitment continues with over 100 new craftspeople and professionals already working in the project team. A further 100 will join over the next few months.

The new motor car, designed in London in 1999, will be hand built to individual customer requirements in the UK starting in January 2003. The manufacturing process at Goodwood includes important areas such as wood and leather shops where skilled people are already crafting parts and matching sets for each motor car. Goodwood will become a Centre of Excellence for coachbuilding in the true Rolls-Royce tradition.

Alongside this human expertise the new facilities at Goodwood also feature some of the world's most modern high technology manufacturing processes. For instance the latest environmentally friendly water-soluble paint materials will be used in the Surface Technology Centre where the trials for the computerised spraying process are now underway.

The entire manufacturing and engineering resources of the BMW Group have been available to the Project Rolls-Royce team. In specific areas the respective Centres of Competence within BMW Group have been selected by the project team to supply Goodwood with some of the most advanced and complex components in the automotive world. For instance, the new motor car will have an all new space frame aluminium body and a unique V12 engine, both hand built by skilled technicians and delivered to Goodwood.

Said Tony Gott, Director of the Project and head of the future Rolls-Royce motor car company which will be established at the end of 2002: 'With the relocation of the project team to Goodwood the focal point is now at its final destination at the future head office of Rolls-Royce motor cars in West Sussex. Significantly, the production of the very first car for training purposes at the new manufacturing plant starts a new chapter in the history of the world's most prestigious motor car'.

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

24 September 2002

With the final phase of preparations for the takeover of full brand responsibility well under way, the Rolls-Royce project phase is now coming to an end. The new stand alone company for Rolls-Royce motor cars, as an affiliate of BMW Group, with its state-of-the art manufacturing plant and head office at Goodwood is soon to become fully operational under its new CEO Tony Gott (46).

An enhanced company structure is currently being set up to manage the growing demands for its future worldwide operations. As part of this process the new function of Corporate Communications has been established, headed by Graham Biggs (38), who joins the Rolls-Royce team as from 7 October. Previously Graham was Corporate Communications Manager at BMW GB Ltd in Bracknell, UK.

Fred Fruth (55) successfully guided the overall communication and lobbying activities for the Rolls-Royce project through its planning and consolidation phase from the early days on. He will remain in the position of General Manager Public Affairs, with a specific focus on the UK home market, as well as the European markets and the Middle East. In line with the sales structures now under development there will be further announcements for communication areas for the Americas and the Asia/Pacific region in due course.

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

23 November 2002
Rolls-Royce plant nears completion
Photo: Ian Burt  

The weather for the photo shoot on 25 November 2001 was very grey, wet and miserable. The weather first thing, almost one year later, was just the same, but incredibly the cloud cleared to give brilliant sunshine for the second shoot, which was kindly set up through the good offices of Fred Fruth, General Manager Public Affairs, Project Rolls-Royce. Click here for the full report.

23 December 2002

On 1 January 2003 Project Rolls-Royce will become Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited and five days later (6 January) an all-new Rolls-Royce will be unveiled to the public for the first time at the Detroit Motorshow (NAIAS).

BMW Group became the custodians of the world's most famous car marque in July 1998. The company committed to design, build and launch an entirely new Rolls-Royce motor car in January 2003 and establish a new manufacturing plant and head office in the UK. Four and a half years later, that promise is about to be fulfilled.

A new headquarters for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited has been built at Goodwood, West Sussex - on the south coast of England. Here the skills of the finest craftsmen are combined with the latest engineering technology to produce an all-new motor car which will carry the Rolls-Royce marque through the 21st century.

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