Rolls-Royce chief executive Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes has admitted that, if it wasn’t for the BMW Group, the acclaimed British car manufacturer would be dead.
The Rolls-Royce brand you’re likely familiar with was formed in 1998, when BMW licensed the rights to the Rolls-Royce brand name and logo after acquiring them from Volkswagen. However, Rolls-Royce actually dates way back to 1906, when it was on the cutting edge of automotive design.
“I’m glad to be a part of the BMW Group and I would even say that Rolls-Royce would be dead without the BMW Group, we would never exist anymore,” Mueller-Oetvoes told Go Auto during a recent event in Melbourne.
“This brand, I mean, these small little precious brands, would all die if they don’t have an OEM who invests early enough into long-term, very expensive technology, be it electric driving, be it autonomous, be it that you comply with all legal regulations worldwide.”
Rolls-Royce prides itself on the fact that its vehicles are much more than spruced up BMWs and that it uses its own components whenever possible.
“All our clients understand that it’s great to be aligned with the BMW Group; there are also quite some clients who even don’t know it yet, and, again, we are not using a 12-cylinder from BMW.
“This is a very different powertrain, this is a Rolls-Royce 12-cylinder, and everything you touch, feel and see is Rolls-Royce-developed, whilst of course taking certain technology from BMW Group.”
On the topic of autonomous technologies, Mueller-Oetvoes says that the company views itself as a ‘follower’ in regards to self-driving developments and says Rolls-Royce will not introduce such features until they’re perfected.
“The current technology is not (fully) autonomous. It helps you maybe drive a couple of miles without touching the steering wheel, but that’s not ‘autonomous’. Autonomous is when you switch off your mind and then you relax and then you read a book and then… the car drives, that’s the level, called Level 4, that’s when I think the technology is right for us to be introduced into the car.”