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Old 15th January 2017, 04:02   #1
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Default Has Rolls-Royce lost its brand value & prestige?

Rolls Royce - a name, a brand very synonymous with Maharajah's and royal families during pre-war era and with business tycoons and industrialists post-war. Back in those days (during the British Raj), you really had to be somebody to be able to own a Rolls Royce. Note - the word I have used is "own" and not afford. Even if you could afford a Rolls Royce back then, if you were not someone from a Royal family - you were not allowed to own a Rolls Royce. I believe the company would do a complete history check on you to ensure you are worthy of the brand before they could sell you the motorcar. And even after the motorcar, you had to ensure that :
1. You do not sell the car to just "anyone" in the market.
2. There would be no alterations done on the motorcar locally (especially with the RR traditional grille).
3. Whatever happens - the motorcar cannot be serviced/repaired on a public road. Owners or Engineers/Mechanics were strictly prohibited from opening the hood on a public road. This was to protect the brand's image which was put across as "A Rolls Royce never breaks down. It just fails to proceed".

So much was the respect for this brand - that people who owned a Rolls Royce also were regarded very highly and shared the same respect. Rolls Royce was the epitome of royalty and luxury.

We have also heard stories about how Maharajah's had ordered for a dozen Rolls Royce's and had them converted into garbage trucks. And how Rolls Royce had to beg and apilogise to get them taken off the road (just to protect the brand).

Fast forward to today - and things are totally different.After Rolls Royce was bought over by BMW, it went on from becoming a luxury car to a mass produced one. Although the brand still holds its value in the market - I don't think it shares the same respect as its predecessors held. And neither do the owners.

Gone is the exclusivity of the brand. Today anyone who has money can buy a Rolls Royce. You don't have to be from a Royal family or an industrialist. Let's take a look at what kind of owners we have come across today.

Rolls Royce Phantoms being used to ferry tourists from airports to hotels and even for advertising and campaigning.

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Royal Palms (Mumbai) RR Phantom

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The Mobile Store RR Phantom



Cars can be bought by any Tom, Dick or Harry who is a criminal or a fraud or a murderer or a scamster. Look at some of the cases where a RR has been seized :

Has Rolls-Royce lost its brand value & prestige?-imageuploadedbyteambhp1448971698.195627-1.jpg
Rolls Royce Ghost abandoned at a Bangalore police station. Probably involved in an accident.

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Rolls Royce Phantom belonging to a south Indian actress Leena Maria Paul who was involved in a scam.

Take a look at some of the whacky Rolls Royce modifications.

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The worst being the DCD (DC-Destroyed) Rolls Royce Silver Spirit.

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The Rolls Royce DropDead Coupe

You can also sell your Rolls Royce on OLX or any other auto portal. Here is a list of RR's available in the market today.
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Has Rolls-Royce lost its brand value & prestige?-screenshot_20170115035016.png

Has Rolls-Royce lost its brand value & prestige?-screenshot_20170115035005.png

Has Rolls-Royce lost its brand value & prestige?-screenshot_20170115034956.png

And lastly, today, Rolls Royce (or BMW) will not bother if your RRs hood

Is raised
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Or razed
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Old 15th January 2017, 05:55   #2
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It is always true that a part of the Brand's mystique and desirability gets eroded as the brand becomes more and more commoditised.

This erosion of value is directly proportional to its commoditisation.

Take any other brand's case for example - in the 1980's Pierre Cardin of France was a renowned designer.
Pierra Balmain was also a renowned designer right from the 1930's, 1940's, 1950's and '60's again in France.

Over the last 20 years, in India, GCC and S E Asia, these "brands" have become synonymous with deep discounting and all sorts of merchandise including cheap pens and the rest of it.

Maybe this is not a direct comparison, but the fact is true for these as well, from the stand point of Brand Value Erosion.

The same goes for Bentley - with increasingly mass market products and rising incomes all over the world, the people who own these fantastic marques like RR and Bentley, frankly are not all they "should be". For example even the Maha-Scamster of IIPM has a Bentley and the King of Troubled Times has several!

Amongst the purists, there's a standing joke that the Range Rover is the vehicle of choice for Tin Pot Dictators and Drug Dealers in some underdeveloped countries!

Take even India - one would actually stop, turn and take a long look in the 1970's and 1980's when one saw a Mercedes or a BMW or when one noticed that Rare Sighting of a Jaguar on the road.

Today, the profile of consumers driving these marques, leave a lot to be desired indeed! Actually this has given rise to a sort of reverse snobbery, where the really old money, makes do with perfectly normal anonymous cars and/ or still drives around in their old inherited "legacy" cars!

The Old Order Changeth and maketh way for the New...

After de monetization anyway all these brands, commoditized or otherwise, have taken a beating in India!

Last edited by GTO : 16th January 2017 at 16:22. Reason: Merging both your posts
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Old 15th January 2017, 07:38   #3
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I absolutely agree with you. I was searching for this kind of a thread for a long time. Thank you for bringing it up. Even until the early 2000's, seeing a Mercedes or BMW on the road would make your day. At least mine. But nowadays these cars can be seen everywhere around the city.
Seeing a RR or a Bentley or even a supercar was a very special occasion. It would happen once a month. But due to the increase in income and the thirst of these manufacturers to rake up numbers, the respect and the value that these cars had is diminishing. Even teenagers in big cities can be seen driving luxury and sports cars.
Rolls Royce was a brand that was unreachable even to the richest of the lot. And today every other post on social media has a Ghost or a Phantom. It's very sad and really breaks my heart.
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Old 15th January 2017, 07:52   #4
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Default re: Has Rolls-Royce lost its brand value & prestige?

I think it's a good change. Previously, as alleged by this article, Rolls Royce was a big egoistic and snob brand. If that garbage story is true, then it deserved it! Who was Rolls Royce to decide the eligibility of a customer? If you had a legit source of income, who is Rolls Royce to decide whether you can buy it or not? Extreme narcissistic and narrow minded behaviour.

Now though, a Rolls Royce is a measure of how successful you are in life. Your success defines your eligibility, not your family history. I applaud BMW for not just changing that, but also for taking RR into the next generation.

Let's face it, the last generation S class and Audi A8s itself (can't even compare with the new generation, they are too ahead) had many luxury features which Rolls couldn't even imagine.

I know an RR car is all about the NVH and ride and isolating you from outside world, but there should be a sense of occasion and awe when you step inside the cabin and thankfully, now it has.

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Old 15th January 2017, 09:27   #5
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Default re: Has Rolls-Royce lost its brand value & prestige?

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Originally Posted by v12 View Post
Rolls Royce - a name, a brand very synonymous with Maharajah's and royal families during pre-war era and with business tycoons and industrialists post-war. Back in those days (during the British Raj), you really had to be somebody to be able to own a Rolls Royce. Note - the word I have used is "own" and not afford. Even if you could afford a Rolls Royce back then, if you were not someone from a Royal family - you were not allowed to own a Rolls Royce.
It is simple once you go deeper into their history. Royalty or monarchy started dwindling since early 1900's, the system of rule then being pseudo-monarchy-pseudo-governance. Still, as this way of rule barely chugged its way till the mid-1900's, Rolls-Royce made its buck by selling a dozen, or even two dozen cars to the royals in Britain, Scotland & Ireland depending on their needs. The British also enticed the Indian "maharajas" using this very car albeit in much lower numbers.

WW1 changed the landscape of rule drastically and WW2 even more, with Britain's home companies going into financial crises. Both Rolls Royce and Bentley were deep in losses due to multiple reasons :

1) Wars were financially draining the country (Britain), changing the landscape.
2) The wars created a sort of enmity between nations, thus drastically changing their purchasing decisions.
3) Royalty/monarchy were no longer the ruling class worldwide, they were rapidly replaced by democracy/communism/dictatorship.
4) This sudden change saw the demand bottom-out for hand-built cars, and the factories began to tailspin due to high labor-rates and very long lead times.

Rolls-Royce would've shut down sometime in the late 1970's, only because they had aviation engine manufacturing expertise, were they nationalized and losses, absorbed. RR Motors, the car making division was considered unimportant in that era and they sold it off to Vikers.plc and almost 2 decades later Vikers.plc sold it to BMW the then engine maker for RR.

Today the times are tough, the luxury market is competitive and while Rolls-Royce has no direct competitor at all, they do have some brands including their owner BMW which are a threat to their existence as such cars are drastically more affordable, better to service and own whilst being 80% as luxurious. This is the very reason they made the RR Ghost, to serve people with a "budget".

Today RR is built in the very same factory in England, using as much hand-finishing as possible. BMW has done an admirable job in increasing sales, and sales are the only reason a brand will continue to grow and flourish, else they will meet the same fate as say, a Maserati.

2005 sales of RR : 796
2015 sales of RR : 4063

The weighted average of growth has been 20%+ which is the only reason they exist today, and such sales come from the likes of Jay-Z *facepalm*, Dubai-based anybody with the cash to spare and a few businessmen here and there.

Without going too much in detail, I'd also say that there were more than a fair share of "royalty" who were despots, scamsters AND murderers who were yet proudly strutting around in a RR Phantom just because they made the law back then. Times have improved basically from that point on.

Cash is king, and cash comes only through sales.

Last edited by dark.knight : 15th January 2017 at 09:30.
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Old 15th January 2017, 09:39   #6
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Default re: Has Rolls-Royce lost its brand value & prestige?

The RR mythology was something of a farce anyway, what's the deal with royals owning it? Unless you are a reactionary, the current profile of the brand's customers is much more palatable. The royals just blew their people's money without a thought. Those who can afford RRs and Bentley's these days made it on their own steam, I'm talking about athletes, entertainers, tech pioneers and so on. It's pretty rich to despise the owners of these brands for not choosing their parents and trade wisely, it's plain jealousy.

RR had no real technological advances to speak of. The Germans deserve credit for keeping these brands alive and dragging them into the modern era. Thanks to VW , Bentley has a more sporty line up and RR is more advanced than a 50s pickup truck.
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Old 15th January 2017, 09:53   #7
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Default re: Has Rolls-Royce lost its brand value & prestige?

It was sold to the British since 1904 right ? Everyone knew even back then that the then Brit economy was running on resources plundered from India, so there's no question it was always all about the money, they only occasionally made a fuss about selling to someone just to humiliate that person, as a PR stunt.
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Old 15th January 2017, 10:05   #8
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Default re: Has Rolls-Royce lost its brand value & prestige?

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Originally Posted by dark.knight View Post
Today the times are tough, the luxury market is competitive and while Rolls-Royce has no direct competitor at all, they do have some brands including their owner BMW which are a threat to their existence as such cars are drastically more affordable, better to service and own whilst being 80% as luxurious.
I've heard this being said before and I have never agreed with this statement.
It's very very clear Bentley is a direct competitor.

Rolls Royce are just full of themselves when they say this. The Rolls Royce Wraith wasn't a response to the non-existent competitors Bentley Continental?.

Last edited by Maky : 15th January 2017 at 10:15.
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Old 15th January 2017, 10:13   #9
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Default re: Has Rolls-Royce lost its brand value & prestige?

It's an intentional well-planned decision by the owners of Rolls Royce and Bentley. Internally, the owners expect these brands to be profitable not just for a year or two, but for the long term. Just being a "jewel in the crown" is meaningless. Bentley regularly used to log losses but has swung back to profits (200 million GBP) in recent times.

All our Maharajas have either become Lodge owners or Politicians anyway. Those seeking exclusivity have a number of hypercars to choose from these days.
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Old 15th January 2017, 10:27   #10
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Rolls Royce are just full of themselves when they say this. The Rolls Royce Wraith wasn't a response to the non-existent competitors Bentley Continental?.
True enough, but I also consider Rolls-Royce's point of view that RR was instrumental in the growth and development of Bentley as a brand, for example the Flying Spur was actually a trademark name of RR. Their 50+ year ownership of Bentley through thick and thin saw RR being the innovator per se while Bentley gained through sharing.

Its only when Vikers sold the entity that the split happened with VW taking control of Bentley and BMW taking control of RR. Today each have their own share of bespoke, hand-built luxury cars but the flagship of Rolls-Royce, the Phantom has no equal in my view, it set the standard for bespoke construction which is unmatched till today. Perhaps the Arnage would've given a close fight but VW discontinued that variant of Bentley.
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Old 15th January 2017, 10:36   #11
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Default re: Has Rolls-Royce lost its brand value & prestige?

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Originally Posted by v12 View Post
Rolls Royce - a name, a brand very synonymous with Maharajah's and royal families during pre-war era and with business tycoons and industrialists post-war. Back in those days (during the British Raj), you really had to be somebody to be able to own a Rolls Royce. Note - the word I have used is "own" and not afford. Even if you could afford a Rolls Royce back then, if you were not someone from a Royal family - you were not allowed to own a Rolls Royce. I believe the company would do a complete history check on you to ensure you are worthy of the brand before they could sell you the motorcar.
The Rolls-Royce wouldnt have survived selling only to those 'worthy' of it. Not just because royalty were dwindling, but because of various anti-discriminatory laws. Governments worldwide would have force closed them if they refuse to sell their cars to someone whom they consider 'not worthy'. Especially in the US, the land of capitalism, if they try to sell after background checks, the govt would have bankrupted them.

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Originally Posted by dark.knight View Post
Rolls-Royce has no direct competitor at all.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maky View Post
I've heard this being said before and I have never agreed with this statement.
It's very very clear Bentley is a direct competitor.
Rolls Royce are just full of themselves when they say this. The Rolls Royce Wraith wasn't a response to the non-existent competitors Bentley Continental?.
Bentley maybe competing in the same price bracket, but it is not 'Royal' enough for many. The only competitor was Daimler (not the German one, but the British), but they are defunct since long. The brand is owned by JLR. Hope they revive it sometime in the future.

Last edited by deerhunter : 15th January 2017 at 10:39.
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Old 15th January 2017, 11:13   #12
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It is a fact that most of the great 'Noble' fortunes and the fortunes of 'Robber Barons' were founded on piracy and sycophancy. And opportunism.
Go back far enough into the ancestry of any aristocrat and you're likely to find a pirate or soldier or ruthless opportunist.
The same goes for the great Names and Fortunes in other countries, including India - all founded by Robber Barons.
The passing of years has helped soften the edges, helped memories fade and lent a certain soft glow to these characters.
Now they are all 'gentrified' and have become 'patrons of the Arts' and portray themselves as benefactors and philanthropists etc...

So in effect RR in some sense, always catered to those chaps who could afford them- notwithstanding where the money came from!
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Old 15th January 2017, 12:02   #13
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Default re: Has Rolls-Royce lost its brand value & prestige?

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And even after the motorcar, you had to ensure that :
1. You do not sell the car to just "anyone" in the market.
2. There would be no alterations done on the motorcar locally (especially with the RR traditional grille).
3. Whatever happens - the motorcar cannot be serviced/repaired on a public road. Owners or Engineers/Mechanics were strictly prohibited from opening the hood on a public road. This was to protect the brand's image which was put across as "A Rolls Royce never breaks down. It just fails to proceed".
Obviously I'm not an RR customer but this type of conceit is so ridiculous, it's actually laughable. It is also simply not going to work in the real world. At the end of the day, it is just a car. A very desirable and expensive car, but still a car.

While RR have the right to choose who they sell it to (even this reeks of snooty elitism), that's about as far as it goes. Once it is your property, you have the right to sell it to whoever you want provided the sale itself is legal. You want to change the grille to something you like more, that's entirely your business. And if an RR breaks down, the driver has every damn right to pop the hood and do what he needs to get going again.

I'm glad RR don't try those old world class discrimination tactics anymore and consequently, I have a lot more respect for them.

Last edited by McLaren Rulez : 15th January 2017 at 12:03.
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Old 15th January 2017, 13:08   #14
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Default re: Has Rolls-Royce lost its brand value & prestige?

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Originally Posted by McLaren Rulez View Post

I'm glad RR don't try those old world class discrimination tactics anymore and consequently, I have a lot more respect for them.
There would be hardly a market for these cars. Anyway, there are ways of acquiring these cars and sending them on to the eventual end user. A bit like arms trading. You'll be surprised how many swanky cars run in North Korea

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Originally Posted by dark.knight View Post

Its only when Vikers sold the entity that the split happened with VW taking control of Bentley and BMW taking control of RR. Today each have their own share of bespoke, hand-built luxury cars but the flagship of Rolls-Royce, the Phantom has no equal in my view, it set the standard for bespoke construction which is unmatched till today. Perhaps the Arnage would've given a close fight but VW discontinued that variant of Bentley.
The split was the best thing for both the brands = Bentley represents muscular opulence. Rolls - pure opulence. The Rolls Siver Spur and Bentley Arnage were not economical to build. They used the old platform and some BMW engines and architecture. VW got rid of the BMW engines and reinstated the old V8 with major improvements.


Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
It is always true that a part of the Brand's mystique and desirability gets eroded as the brand becomes more and more commoditised.

This erosion of value is directly proportional to its commoditisation

The same goes for Bentley - with increasingly mass market products and rising incomes all over the world.
Amongst the purists, there's a standing joke that the Range Rover is the vehicle of choice for Tin Pot Dictators and Drug Dealers in some underdeveloped countries!

Today, the profile of consumers driving these marques, leave a lot to be desired indeed! Actually this has given rise to a sort of reverse snobbery, where the really old money, makes do with perfectly normal anonymous cars and/ or still drives around in their old inherited "legacy" cars!
Blame it on shareholder return. The shareholders of BMW and VW demand more every year. this translates into more volume - a double edged sword over branding.

Really old money - they make do with Innova's or utilarian luxury like E/S/5/7 class/series.

Quote:
Originally Posted by v12 View Post
[b]R
Attachment 1595312
The Mobile Store RR Phantom


Attachment 1595315
Rolls Royce Phantom belonging to a south Indian actress Leena Maria Paul who was involved in a scam.
These are both the same car. Probably the most screwed up Rolls of modern times
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Old 15th January 2017, 13:39   #15
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I've heard this being said before and I have never agreed with this statement.
It's very very clear Bentley is a direct competitor. *SNIP*
I thought Bentley was owned by Rolls Royce; and that people who did not want to brazenly flaunt their wealth bought Bentleys instead of Rolls Royces (because they didn't want to be clubbed with unsophisticated nouveau-riche bumpkins like the Arab sheiks).

My father told me a few anecdotes about Rolls Royce.

Anecdote 1.
Apparently this happened many decades ago. So, an Englishman was driving through Australia in his Rolls, and it conked out in the middle of somewhere.

So, he called Rolls royce. They choppered an engineer over, he repaired the car and the Englishman went on his way. After returning home to England he called Rolls Royce and said he never received a bill for the services provided. Rolls royce denied ever having provided any service, claiming that Rolls Royces do not break down.

Anecdote 2:
Rolls Royce being demoed somewhere. Guy stands a pencil on the bonnet, starts the car and revs the engine and shuts it down. The pencil never even shook, let alone fall.

Anecdote 3:
This is from David Ogilvy the advertising god.

Ogilvy Benson and Mather (OBM in those days and just O&M now) were the agency for Rolls Royce. Rolls in those days (not sure about now) came with an analogue clock in the dashboard.

Ogilvy came up with the slogan "At 60 miles an hour, the loudest sound in the car is the ticking of the dashboard clock".

Now comes the legend part: Apparently Rolls Royce, after reading the copy, said "Something needs to be done about that clock.".

Another legend:
Apparently in the days of yore, Rolls Royces never had a bonnet that could be opened. You see, there was no need for a bonnet to be opened - Rolls Royce do not break down.

Enjoy

Cheers
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