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Is BMW the Owner of the Current Rolls-Royce Luxury Car Brand?

Is BMW the Owner of the Current Rolls-Royce Luxury Car Brand
Is BMW the Owner of the Current Rolls-Royce Luxury Car Brand

Many car enthusiasts stay loyal to their favourite brands, but this doesn’t always mean supporting the same corporation for life. When faced with budget cuts, production restrictions, or licensing deals offering hundreds of millions of dollars, many groups choose to sell lines of iconic cars to another company. 

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These sales can bring innovation and revitalization to a classic model when done well. While Rolls-Royce is an iconic model of the automotive industry, it has also seen its fair share of ownership changes. 

How BMW Acquired Rolls-Royce in 1998

Rolls Royce Phantom 2023
Rolls Royce Phantom 2023

According to the official Rolls-Royce website, the technology behind one of the most iconic luxury vehicles in the world was also useful in warfare. The powerful engines and manufacturing know-how of the company were utilized in both World War I and World War II. 

The innovations made during these times of turmoil propelled the company toward aviation manufacturing alongside its vehicles. Little did they know, the late ’90s would see them flying into another serious issue. 

When Vicker PLC put the Rolls-Royce automaker up for sale, every manufacturer dreamed of acquiring it. The bidding war reached hundreds of millions of dollars, however, German brands BMW and Volkswagen were soon the only companies in the running. Volkswagen appeared to win the battle on May 7, 1998, topping BMW’s final bid with an offer of $705 million. But BMW got the last laugh. 

Volkswagen’s $705 million payout only bought them the Rolls-Royce company, not the branding rights. When the auction had ended, Vicker PLC, who had allegedly hoped BMW would win quickly turned around and sold the Rolls-Royce brand and name to Volkswagen’s ultimate rival. The original purchaser was left with a Rolls-Royce company only authorized to produce Bentleys, while BMW took home the grand prize for a mere $66 million. 

BMW Owns Rolls-Royce & Their Other Lineups

At the time of the deal, the VW chairman faced a lot of backlash. The loss of the branding seemed like a massive oversight and many felt the victory had been stolen out from underneath them. 

Still, he insisted that he was happy with the outcome. In the end, both companies continue to see lots of success. 

Consumer Reports lists the Volkswagen Group as owning Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, and Volkswagen. It’s an impressive collection of luxury with one key component missing. The BMW Group now owns the Rolls-Royce brand alongside their own BMW lines. 

Leadership Change Happened Again in 2019 

The great battle for Rolls-Royce may be long in the past, but BMW is still far from drama-free. In 2019, CEO Harald Krueger left the company before his contract could be renewed. It was said that he may have been driven out by the disappointing loss of market share BMW has faced in recent years. 

With Rolls-Royce, the brand was making a play to be top in luxury and environmental efficiency. Unfortunately, their high prices and features saw them fall to the Tesla. 

Written by Amaefule Precious

A content writer with experience across various niches, and one of them includes interest in writing about cars.

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