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Rolls-Royce aims for aspirational owners via vehicle customization app

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December 11, 2012

Rolls-Royce Phantom Series II mobile app

British automaker Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is aiming at aspirational owners through an update to its Phantom mobile application on which users can now create their own Phantom Series II vehicle.

The Phantom Series II that was released in September is the first update to the vehicle since its debut in 2003. The Phantom app was launched in 2011, but the new app functions allow users to visualize the updates to the Phantom Series vehicles and allow more customization features.

“The Phantom app not only allows users to configure their vehicles with available exterior colors, interior leathers and wheels, but also, users can take photos of a color with the camera function of their mobile devices and visualize their Phantom in their custom color,” said Kristina Marchitto, head of corporate communications at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars North America, Woodcliff Lake, NJ.

“Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has more than 44,000 colors on file and having a car in your own special color is an important part of our Bespoke program,” she said. “This allows our customers to play with a limitless palette of colors from their environment before ordering their motor car in a custom color.

“It is appropriate that we update the Phantom app to allow users to visualize their colors and options on the new vehicle.”

Customizing cars
The updated app takes up 150 megabytes of memory. It contains more features for users to create a personalized vehicle.

Through the main menu, users can chose to design their own Phantom vehicle, view the Bespoke design images and options, go to the Rolls-Royce media channels and YouTube, visit the Rolls-Royce Web site or locate a dealer.

Home screen of Phantom app

The “Design Your Own” Phantom Series II tool is the new section of the app.

Users can choose from the Phantom Coupé, the Phantom or the Phantom Drophead Coupé.

Phantom models

Next, users can choose exterior color, interior color and other features on the vehicle. One of the new features allows users to select an exterior color by taking a photograph of a color with the camera on the user’s mobile device.

Bespoke colors

Users can also choose the interior colors of the car and add additional features such as a painted grill or LED headlamps.

Extra features

On the app, users can rotate around the vehicle by using the touch screen to get the full view of their creation.

Vehicle view

After the vehicle design is complete, users can save the vehicle in the “garage” of the app or share the images via email or Facebook.

“Virutally all of these features are expensive programming components for an app developer,” said Isabella Lin, content director at Appitalism, New York. “Since such a high-cost purchase always involves customization anyway, using an app as an interface to enable this personalization is a smart move by Rolls-Royce.

“If you are a game lover or a luxury car lover who likes playing with your mobile device, then this app is made for you, with lots of features and the ability to create your own vehicle design,” she said.

“The strategy is to get Rolls-Royce car owners and car fans to interact with the brand.”

Aspirational drivers
The Phantom app debuted in 2011 after the automaker had previously released other mobile apps featuring its vehicles.

When the Phantom app was first released, some experts did not know if the app was useful to actual Rolls-Royce customers, or worth the massive 300 megabytes of real estate on an iPad (see story).

However, the amount of additional memory used by the updated Phantom mobile app seems to translate into increased functionally.

“Potential customers can interact in a variety of ways, such as with simulators, photos and augmented reality,” Ms. Lin said. “This app is great for enhancing the understanding of the Rolls-Royce brand history and details.

“For those who desire to have a Rolls-Royce, this is an attractive way to fantasize about owning one,” she said.

Final take
Erin Shea, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York 

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Erin Shea is an editorial assistant on Luxury Daily. Her beats are apparel and accessories, government, home furnishings, legal and privacy, nonprofits and retail. Reach her at erin@napean.com.

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