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Rolls-Royce CEO: SUV still under consideration

by Drew Johnson

A Rolls-Royce SUV could still be in the cards.

Rolls-Royce's CEO has changed gears and now says the ultra-luxury automaker is still considering the launch of a new SUV model. Rolls' CEO previous denied that such plans were in the works.

"We are intensively thinking about entering the SUV segment," Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes told in an interview at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Rolls-Royce's utility vehicle would compete with Bentley's upcoming SUV as well as Land Rover's all-new Range Rover line, which will soon include a long-wheelbase model. However, while those competitors are expected to sell between $100,000-$180,000, Rolls-Royce's SUV will likely command north of $200,000.

"The SUV segment is very interesting," Mueller-Oetvoes said. "It has been incredibly stable during the crisis, and I think a luxury niche will develop."

Rolls-Royce isn't the only luxury automaker jumping into the SUV segment. Maserati will launch its Jeep Grand Cherokee-based Levante in 2015 and Jaguar previewed an upcoming utility vehicle with the C-X17 concept in Frankfurt. Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW (which owns Rolls-Royce) are also said to be in the midst of a widespread SUV/CUV expansion.

The Rolls-Royce SUV is still in the early stages of planning, meaning it will be at least four years before we see the vehicle in showrooms.