Rolls-Royce: luxury will always take priority over technology

2 years, 4 months ago - 18 September 2020, autocar
Rolls-Royce: luxury will always take priority over technology
British marque will adopt new digital systems for its cars once they can best the feel of analogue controls

Digital technology represents a "phenomenal opportunity" for Rolls-Royce to enhance its personalisation options for customers, according to the lead designer of the firm's bespoke Coachbuild arm – but it won't fully embrace such systems until they can offer a luxury experience that beats analogue controls.

The British firm has started to increase the use of systems such as touchscreens in the interior of its cars, but it has so far been on a limited basis, with the likes of the latest Phantom featuring a customised 'gallery' option.

"We're not always the first adopters, and for good reason," said Alex Innes, head of design at Coachbuild. "For us, technology is about furthering the experience of what is expected of a Rolls-Royce.

"Digitalisation presents a phenomenal opportunity and will enhance our ability to personalise a machine in the customer's image. We'd never do anything just for the sake of using technology, but we can develop it to fit the marque and what it represents. It's important not to ask a client to do more than necessary. A Rolls-Royce should be a sanctuary from life's distractions. It's our responsibility to apply technology without overstepping the mark."

Innes cited the example of the Phantom and latest Ghost, both of which make use of technology but retain largely analogue controls.

"We carefully select the materials we use," he said. "That's why we haven't started using touchscreens with haptic feedback. The experience of beautifully weighted analogue switchgear still beats a touchscreen."