BMW’s ambitious plans for Rolls-Royce look set to create up to 150 new engineering jobs at Crewe in a major expansion of production to 6,000 cars per year.
Industry watchers believe vehicle styling will remain based at Crewe, Cheshire, but that Rolls-Royce will exploit links with Rover’s £30m design centre at Gaydon in Warwickshire.
‘The volume Rover has means it can do things in design that Rolls-Royce cannot even contemplate,’ said Paul Nieuwenhuis, automotive industry analyst at Cardiff Business School.
Rover, which already supplies body panels to Rolls-Royce, said it was too early to comment on possible design co-operation.
Chassis and power train engineering will almost certainly be centred at BMW’s design operations in Munich where the company carries out development for its large rear-wheel-drive saloon cars.
Most of the new engineering jobs in the UK will be in production engineering, as the Crewe plant gears up to add an all-new production facility on the 24ha site. Industry sources believe this could cost up to £500m, half the sum BMW is understood to be prepared to invest.
BMW said it plans to create up to 2,500 new manufacturing jobs at Crewe.
Sources believe it unlikely BMW will bring a significant new R&D centre to the UK specifically for Rolls-Royce.
‘There will be a styling presence in the UK because public perception will demand this. But the main R&D will take place in Germany,’ said a source close to Rolls-Royce.
Vickers said this week the £340m cash deal should be completed by early summer.
Failed bidders this week were, however, believed to be looking at raising their bids.