If further proof were needed that luxury car makers are looking at India as a major market, Rolls-Royce, the granddaddy of them all, is planning to launch its latest model, the Ghost, in the country soon after its international launch.
Production of the new car has begun at the company's Goodwood manufacturing facility on the south coast of England. The Ghost, a smaller version of the iconic Phantom, will be formally exhibited at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. The Indian launch will follow in November or December.
Announced at the Shanghai auto show in April, the Rolls-Royce Ghost is a smaller ultra-luxury saloon, designed by Ian Cameron and engineered by Helmut Riedl, who played leading roles in the development of the fifth-generation Rolls-Royce Phantom.
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Germany's BMW Group. Its chief executive Tom Purves called the Ghost ''a Rolls that one can drive every day''. He said at the Shanghai launch, ''This car will be the first in a new generation of models to carry this evocative name and will give us two pinnacle product lines – Phantom and Ghost.''
The Rolls-Royce Ghost is being built on its own dedicated production line at Goodwood but will share paint, wood and leather workshops with the Phantom series of cars. Rolls-Royce has expanded all areas of its manufacturing facility over the last 18 months to prepare for the introduction of the Ghost model.
The international price of the Ghost will be around will be around £170,000 ($250,000). However, it will be considerably more expensive in India due to the government's high taxes and import duties.