Rolls-Royce & Bentley Motor Cars today announced the introduction of a new retail channel which focusses entirely on the sale of new Rolls-Royce cars directly to customers - bypassing its dealer network entirely.
The company said this morning that the initiative, known as Rolls-Royce Direct, will not inhibit their dealers, but simply provide a new opportunity for Rolls-Royce sales in the final months before stewardship of the marque passes from Volkswagen to BMW and the existing licences to sell the cars expire in 2002.
A Rolls-Royce spokeswoman said: "The numbers of Rolls-Royce's sold in the UK is small compared to Bentley, which account for up to 85% of the mix. And the expansion of the Bentley range in the near future means the dealer network has plenty to focus on."
She also stressed that Rolls-Royce Direct, due for introduction in April, is not meant to take the place of the dealer network.
The new initiative will be supported by a "small, highly motivated" team of sales managers, account managers and technical support managers which is currently being recruited. The team will be managed by a direct channel manager along with administrative support.
The company spokeswoman said more specific details of how the team will operate would be revealed later.
The Rolls-Royce Direct team will work for Carter & Carter, consultants specialising in the motor industry, and valued by Rolls-Royce, the spokeswoman said, for its experience in providing new sales prospects.
Malcolm Wade, managing director UK and Middle East, said: "Rollys-Royce Direct is a unique, innovative programme which will enable us to target new customers in a dedicated and focussed way. It will be exemplary in its execution, befitting a luxury brand such as Rolls-Royce."