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by Tim Beissmann

Rolls-Royce is seriously considering building an SUV and creating what it believes would be the world’s most luxurious – and likely most expensive – crossover vehicle.

Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes gave the strongest indication to date that it is looking seriously at the growing luxury SUV segment when questioned about the brand’s plans at the Frankfurt motor show.

“We are intensively thinking about entering the SUV segment,” Mueller-Oetvoes told Bloomberg.

“The SUV segment is very interesting. It has been incredibly stable during the crisis, and I think a luxury niche will develop.”

The potential positioning of Rolls’ SUV is unclear at this stage, though reports suggest it would likely slot between the company’s existing sedans: the $609,000 Ghost and the $809,000 Phantom.

Bentley-EXP-9F

Rolls’ interest in the segment follows confirmation from fellow ultra-luxury British rival Bentley in July that it will launch its first SUV in 2016, also aiming to be “the most luxurious and powerful SUV” in the world.

The SUV will take inspiration from the polarising Bentley EXP 9F concept (pictured above), which the car maker says attracted an “extremely positive response” from customers after its unveiling in Geneva last year.

The Maserati Levante will beat the Bentley to market, with the Italian sports car manufacturer set to launch its luxury crossover in 2015.

Jaguar is also on the verge of launching its own entrant into the crossover market, albeit a smaller, more affordable model based on the C-X17 concept and set to rival the likes of the Audi Q5/Q7 and BMW X3/X5/X6 from 2016.




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