Now you're talking: Rolls-Royce heads downmarket
Well, it's all not bad news out there.
For those of us who peeked at our 401K's and realized that we can no longer cash it out and treat ourselves to a Rolls-Royce Phantom, comes the exhilarating news that RR is bringing out a lower end motor car: the Rolls-Royce Ghost. I know I'm not alone in my excitement. There are, after all, an awful lot of us languishing in automotive no-man's land between Kia and Bugatti. And here we have the opportunity to snap up Ghost with the ultra friendly price of $255K. When you compare that to a Phantom - which goes for about $450K - we're really talking about a car that reflects the new economic reality, in which the average bloke's retirement savings and/or house is off by about 40%. How cool - and thoughtful - is that?
Head's up product marketing for Rolls-Royce, I'd say.
Just as the Tom Joad heap, packed to the gills with Okies and headed to California, was the emblematic vehicle of The Great Depression, we'll have the Ghost. I am so liking it
I hope the Ghost uses the Spirit of Ecstasy as its hood ornament. And that you don't have to settle for it in stainless, but can bespoke yourself into a sterling or solid gold one. Sure, the Spirit might look a bit like a slightly more solid White Rock girl, but, let's face it, since Chief Pontiac was retired as a hoodie in the way back - and I guess we won't be seeing him back again, now that Pontiac has been deep-sixed as a brand - there really haven't been very many interesting hood ornaments out there, have there?
Sure, there's the Jaguar's jaguar, but I always found that kind of toy-like. It never said "car" to me, it said "cat."
And what's with Mercedes and their peace sign? No offense to Germany - you guys have been ultra-schön for the last 60+ years, and I'll give you a tip of the old homburg for that - but we're going to accept a peace sign from the country that gave us a couple of world wars?
So, I do hope that the Rolls' Ghost sticks with the Spirit of Ecstasy.
And, while I do realize that something has to give, and you get what you pay for, I hope they don't scrimp on the interior, either.
I like knowing that the hides of 18 bulls go into the leather innards of the Phantom. After all, as the Rolls-Royce FAQ's tell us, bull hides don't "suffer from stretch mark and other blemishes that are naturally found in some cow hides."
Sure, I know that those cows got those stretch marks honestly, and are probably even more than a little proud of them, if there's such a thing as bovine pride. But who wants to sit on stretch-marked leather. And I'm not being sexist here, either.
I hope they don't sacrifice the run-flat tyres, either.
I've got to admit it, I've never had to change a tire. Frankly, that's what AAA and gas stations are for. And I'm not about to start figuring out which end of a jack is up at this point in my life. So knowing I could travel 100 miles at 50 m.p.h. on a couple of flat-ties. I'm down with that.
So, before I head to my credit union to see what kind of a rate I can get on a car loan, I do want to check out some of those make or break fine points on the Ghost. I don't take car-ship lightly, as anyone who saw me rolling in my rented Ford Focus earlier this week can attest. My purchase devil will be in the details.
Which means that if the Ghost turns out to be not quite what I'm looking for, a mere spectral presence when compared with the Phantom, I might just hang out, wait for the market to come back, and shoot for the real deal.
I originally read about the Ghost, and got the info on prices, in the always excellent Economist (May 9).