By Matthew Fletcher / Bloomberg News
LONDON -- Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, the No. 2 luxury carmaker, is using specialists from the company's plants in Germany and the U.S. at its new Rolls-Royce unit near Chichester, southern England, to help with the start of production.
BMW has brought in about 50 advisers in leather and trim work, logistics and public relations from factories in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and Dingolfing, Germany, as well as the company's Mini plant in Cowley, England, said Fred Fruth, a Rolls-Royce spokesman, in a telephone interview.
The automaker has taken over Rolls-Royce from Volkswagen AG as part of an agreement the rivals reached in 1998 that split the Rolls-Royce and Bentley car brands. The Munich automaker has the rights to the Rolls-Royce car name as of January. Volkswagen is producing Bentley cars and kept the factory in Crewe, England.
"It's part of our system of sending in temporary specialists from BWM sister plants when production starts," said Fruth. "We're happy with our operation in England. We're not about to shift production to Germany."
The London-based Daily Telegraph newspaper today reported that Rolls-Royce has lowered its 2003 production target to 480 from 1,000 cars because of start-up difficulties. "It was always our intention to build about 500 cars for customers this year and we will come very close to doing that," said Fruth.
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