Rolls-Royce has begun work on the first of its new four-door saloons at its new plant at Goodwood in southern England.

Control of the famous British brand passes from Volkswagen to BMW on 1 January and the company has now completed the major areas of its new factory and head office for the future Rolls-Royce car company.

Specialist staff have moved in to set up their respective work areas and over 250 people are involved in the final stages of preparations for the ‘Goodwood Era#; for Rolls-Royce.

All of the departments for the new business are now directly supporting the new facilities at Goodwood and local recruitment is continuing with over 100 new craftspeople and professionals already working in the project team. A further 100 will join over the next few months.

The new car, designed in London in 1999, will be hand-built to individual customer requirements in the UK starting in January 2003.
The unique V12 engine will come from Germany and the space frame aluminium body shell will be built at the BMW plant in Dingolfing but the assembly process at Goodwood includes wood and leather shops where manufacture of parts and matching sets for each car has already begun.

“BMW intends Goodwood to become a ‘Centre of Excellence for coachbuilding#; in the true Rolls-Royce tradition,” the company said in a statement.

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The new factory also features some of the most modern high technology manufacturing processes. Environmentally friendly water soluble paint materials will be used in the surface technology centre where trials of the computerised spraying process are now under way.