RREC Central Southern Section

21 February 2006
HRH The Duke of York arrives   The welcoming party
His Royal Highness The Duke of York arrived at the Rolls-Royce plant in a Phantom.
In the welcoming party was (left to right) Mr Gordon Tregear - High Sheriff of West Sussex, Mrs Margaret Johnson DL - Chairman of West Sussex County Council, Mr Mark Hammond - Chief Executive, West Sussex County Council, Cllr John Ridd - Chairman Chichester District Council, and Mr Ian Robertson - Chairman and Chief Executive, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
In the leather shop   The Assembly Line
Ian Robertson and Ian Triggs demonstrate to HRH the laser cutting in the leather shop. Known as the 'silent factory' because the motor cars are moved by hand on the assembly line, four to five are produced each working day.
Ian Robertson and HRH   Seeing the funny side
Ian Robertson and His Royal Highness in humorous discussion at the conclusion of the Royal Tour.           Photos: Ian Burt

His Royal Highness The Duke of York today visited the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars manufacturing plant and head office at Goodwood near Chichester, in his capacity as the UK Special Representative for Trade and Investment (UKTI) - the organisation which encourages the international trade of British goods and services.

The Duke of York arrived at the plant in a Rolls-Royce Phantom and was welcomed by Chairman and Chief Executive, Ian Robertson. He toured the plant to see how the Phantom was built and met a number of employees.

'It has been a great pleasure and an honour to welcome The Duke of York to the Rolls-Royce plant today,' said Ian Robertson. 'We have been delighted by the success of our business, particularly as 90% of our production is sold internationally and so generates export revenue for UK plc.'

The facility at Goodwood was opened in January 2003, with the launch of the new Phantom, after Rolls-Royce became part of the BMW Group. The Phantom has since proved a great sales success, rapidly rising to market leadership, worldwide, within its sector.

North America accounts for around half of the worldwide demand, followed by the Middle East, the UK, Japan and China respectively. In 2005 almost 800 Phantoms were sold worldwide, which was the highest number of Rolls-Royces sold for fifteen years.

The workforce at the Goodwood plant is highly skilled. Each Phantom is hand-built to meet specific customer requirements and this requires craftspeople who are able to adapt their skills across a wide range of tasks. Many have come from outside the automotive world; for example the furniture-making, yacht-building, musical instrument and shoe-making industries are all represented. The majority of the workforce is British, although there are fourteen other nationalities on site. A total of 550 new jobs were created with the establishment of the Rolls-Royce facilities.

The second model to be launched at Goodwood was the Phantom with extended wheel base, in November 2005. A new convertible will follow in 2007.