Dead In The U.S.: Rolls-Royce Wraith And Dawn

Illustration for article titled Dead In The U.S.: Rolls-Royce Wraith And Dawn
Photo: Rolls-Royce

The 2021 Rolls-Royce Wraith and the 2021 Rolls-Royce Dawn will mark the end for those two models in the Americas, Rolls-Royce confirms. This is apparently in large part because of emissions regulations.


You will notice a theme in the current Rolls-Royce lineup, in that the 2021 Rolls-Royce Cullinan gets 14 mpg combined, same as the Ghost, same as the Wraith, same as the Phantom, same as the Dawn. But that isn’t sustainable, given tighter auto emissions regulations on the horizon, a side effect of last November’s presidential election. Which means that now, Rolls-Royce has chosen to stop selling the Wraith and Dawn in the U.S. and the Americas market as a whole.

A Rolls-Royce spokesman said that the Wraith and Dawn would continue to be offered in markets overseas. Beyond that, you can probably expect Rolls-Royce’s long-overdue electric at some point. But it’s unclear when, as business is booming at the moment for Rolls. As the saying goes, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

Still, Rolls is an interesting case study in how government regulations matter, both here and overseas, at a time when many countries and cities across the world plan for an internal combustion phaseout — and in many places, a ban on driving gas cars in areas like city centers. If you can’t drive your Rolls downtown, it isn’t much more than a very expensive hunk of metal.

That prospect is still some years off, though. In the meantime, I’m sure you have a spare $400,000 or so to snag one of the last Wraiths or Dawns here. And while the very good new Mercedes EQS is a preview of what electric luxury will look like now and in the future, in many ways I am eagerly looking forward to the Rolls-Royce take on an EV, given that Rolls is another level up on the luxury ladder. I’m sure there will be a space for the umbrella.

News Editor at Jalopnik. 2008 Honda Fit Sport.


Shane Morris

If there was ever a brand where going electric would make a ton of sense, it would be Rolls Royce. Back in the early 00s, my dad owned a Phantom — and it was without a doubt the quietest car I have ever been inside.

For comparison, a Phantom makes a Lexus LS sound like a Ramones concert. I’m talking about coffin-six-feet-deep levels of quiet, even at 80 mph going through the tunnel from Orinda into Oakland, the Phantom was like... the sweet embrace of death.

Secondly, a Rolls isn’t really your “cross country touring” car anyway. It’s for those trips into the city, or around the city. They’re known for torque, and quiet operation. The dovetail of quiet operation and torque is exactly where an electric car thrives, so I’m wondering why it look Rolls so long to get with the program, especially now that the EQS looks like a world beater.

... and then there’s that other thing. Rolls Royce isn’t exactly known for reliability, and even after borrowing heavily from BMW, their operation was... uhm... still terrible. By removing the internal combustion engine, transmission, and all the associated fuel lines, things that leak, etc, Rolls can focus on luxury. That was the punch line to our family Phantom, as much as I can remember it; it was always being serviced. There was always some small thing wrong with it, or it would strand us. (I remember a drive home from dinner with my grandma, and it went into “limp home mode” stuck in second gear, so we putted around doing 40 mph just to get the thing back to our house. What a luxury!) When my dad actually had places to be, or needed to commute to work, he took his Prius, because it would reliably get him from Point A to Point B. Only in the Bay Area will you routinely find driveways with both a $30,000 Prius, and a $200,000 Phantom.

In summation, in a sort of backwards way, emissions regulations are saving Rolls from their own shortcomings, because the mechanical elements have never been their strong suit. Let’s hope the EV versions of whatever come next are better.