When a carmaker announces a new model in a range that exemplifies the very pinnacle of automotive luxury and exclusivity — issuing a stock standard press release just simply won't do.
Instead, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars this week called on its chief executive officer Torsten Müller-Ötvös, who penned and signed a lengthy letter outlining the imminent arrival of the company's new Ghost.
Estimated time of arrival
Expected to usher in a new era of minimalism and what the company has described as a period of "Post Opulence", the new Ghost will be making its first official appearance during spring.
And, with a price tag that could well terrify a bank, the new Ghost will also be made available in South Africa this year…but only for those who can afford it.
This was confirmed by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Johannesburg on Tuesday 28 July with the dealership saying images of the new model would be made available during August.
To date, and consistent with its Ghost nameplate and new era of minimalism, Rolls-Royce has issued just a visual teaser — in the form of a few lines of a sketch — which simply alludes to the profile and lines of the top-half of the new model.
Post Opulence: #RollsRoyce reveals the super-luxury consumer insights that informed new Ghost in the first of four animated films ahead of its official unveiling in autumn this year. pic.twitter.com/w28W40vLOl— Rolls-Royce Motor Cars (@rollsroycecars) July 28, 2020
Bank-rolling a Rolls
Pricing for the new model has not yet been revealed, either by the British carmaker, or its South African representative.
But word on the showroom floor is that the current Ghost can set a South African back anything between R9-million and R11-million.
And while the exact models were not specified, at least 17 vehicles from that floor are believed to have found new up-market garages in South Africa in 2019.
Speaking of Ghosts
Speaking with the weight that only a household name, synonymous with the heights of luxury can bring to bare, Müller-Ötvös opened his comments by expressing the gravity of the occasion.
"The launch of a new Rolls-Royce is unquestionably an historic moment.
"However, presenting a new Ghost carries with it tremendous responsibility," noted the CEO.
"Our new Ghost, which will debut in the autumn [spring in South Africa], follows the first-ever Goodwood Ghost, which, since its launch in 2009, has become the most successful model in the marque's 116-year history.
"Indeed, such was its timeless appeal, it enjoyed a lifespan of more than a decade. A truly remarkable achievement," enthused Müller-Ötvös.
Watch: 2009 Rolls-Royce Ghost appearance
Keeping the spirits up
He said as Rolls-Royce reached the final development stages of the new car, the company was faced with the coronavirus pandemic.
"This invisible enemy cast a grave and stubborn shadow on the world. At Rolls-Royce, we kept our spirits up. With the utmost focus on the wellbeing of our people at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, and around the world, we carefully and responsibly continued work on finalising this remarkable motor car."
"The experience reminded us that Rolls-Royce, with the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy at its prow, has endured with resilience and continues to serve as a symbol of ambition and endeavour."
While the Rolls-Royce Global Centre of Luxury Manufacturing Excellence stood largely silent between 24 March and 4 May, it was very much business as usual for the plants, animals, birds and insects that inhabit the 42-acre site. Image: rolls-roycemotorcars.com
Demands and desires
The CEO went on to point out that the creation of a product that would resonate with Ghost clients for the next 10 years, demanded that the company pay careful attention to it's client's "demands and desires".
"And we did so. They told us that they very much enjoyed Ghost's versatility and breadth of character. It is a car they enjoyed driving themselves – or to be driven in should the occasion call for a chauffeur.
"They also appreciated the car's pared-back simplicity, or as they put it, 'a slightly smaller, less ostentatious means to own a Rolls-Royce'," noted the chief executive.
He said going further, clients had expressed an ardent desire for even more minimalism in design.
The Rolls-Royce Kryptos Wraith of which only 50 has been manufactured. The Wraith is a luxury coupe derived from the automaker's Ghost sedan. Image: rolls-roycemotorcars.com
Keeping up with the Joneses
"This demand resonated with findings of our Luxury Intelligence Unit and designers at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, West Sussex, who for some years had been tracking an emerging contemporary movement within a particular layer of luxury consumers, which included our Ghost clients, and which we called 'Post Opulence'. "
"We found that these clients are showing a marked tendency towards luxury objects that celebrate reduction and restraint – that don't shout, but rather, whisper. They are seeking design purity by rejecting obvious and unnecessary embellishments and overt complication," explained Müller-Ötvös.
To complement this minimalism, the CEO said Ghost clients require innovative but effortless technology and real engineering substance in their car.
"Of course, there will always be a place in this world, and at Rolls-Royce, for items and products of opulence that express the very best of human endeavour, inspire greatness and present a sense of theatre and magic.
"But we at Rolls-Royce remain alert for any signs of a recalibration of need within layers of the global luxury marketplace," he said, adding that the company then set about creating the new model around five years ago.
Rare edition: The Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge. Image: rolls-roycemotorcars.com
"And such was the task," revealed the CEO, "that the only components we deemed fit to carry over were the Spirit of Ecstasy and umbrellas. Everything else is entirely new.
"The car has been designed, engineered, and crafted from the ground up at our Global Centre of Luxury Manufacturing Excellence in Goodwood, West Sussex, to answer the express wishes and desires of a post-opulent group of clients."
Describing the Ghost as the purest of Rolls-Royce yet, Müller-Ötvös said the model distils the pillars of the brand into a "beautiful, minimalist, yet highly complex product that is perfectly in harmony with its clients' needs".
He said he also believed the model was equally in tune with the times in which we are all living.
"In this spirit, we invite you to experience our new Ghost in the next few months. More details of this historic moment will follow over the coming weeks, beginning with a series of four beautiful animations, detailing rare insights into the lifestyles and behaviour of our Ghost client layer, and the tremendous technical substance underpinning what we believe is the most sublime expression of Rolls-Royce yet."
Concluding, Müller-Ötvös said these "informative pieces" would culminate in a fully digital debut of the new Ghost — which would be followed by numerous client, media and public events around the world.