It would be easy to ridicule the newest offering from Rolls-Royce: a bespoke version of the company's new Dawn convertible called "Dawn--Inspired by Fashion".
For starters, we're talking about Rolls-Royce, a company whose cars often straddle the line between luxury and absurdity.
To make matters worse, the offerings are part of Rolls-Royce's Spring/Summer 2017 Couture collection, which takes one of the world's highest-end brands and swaddles it in layers of high fashion. If there's anything people love to ridicule, it's fashion.
And last but not least, there's the press release, which is as overwrought and over-the-top as a dime-store romance novel from 1950. A sample:
"In creating ‘Dawn – Inspired by Fashion’, these designers selected the neutral canvas of white upon which to base three vibrant colours that will set the tone for 2017’s Spring/Summer collection; Mugello Red, Cobalto Blue or Mandarin. Subtle accents of these colours adorn interior aspects of each Dawn, whilst the ‘Silent Ballet’ of the roof as it rises to provide shelter from the paparazzo’s lens unleashes a brushstroke of colour to catch the style-spotter’s eye."
All of which is pretty ridiculous to those of us who spend more time looking for change in our car's ashtray while waiting in the drive-through lane of Taco Bell than we do looking for paparazzi.
But should we be so quick to judge "Dawn--Inspired by Fashion" and the people who might pony up more than $335,000 to buy one?
There's a market for cars like this, just as there's a market for the Bugatti Veyron and for the Nissan Versa. Dawn might not be the right car for you for any number of reasons--not least of which are the Andalucian White exterior and the Piano White interior, which will require a full-time staff to keep clean. However, the fact that buyers exist for Dawn shows that, in some way, the world is doing all right.
Think of it like this: if automakers weren't churning out models like "Dawn--Inspired by Fashion"--as they weren't after the Great Recession--it would be a sign that something was wrong, that the economy was off, that consumer confidence was low. But the fact that this car exists is probably a good indicator that things are okay, at least for now.
Also, there's an argument to be made that rare, luxury vehicles like Dawn help shape tomorrow's automotive trends. You see that in the technology field, to be sure: safety features like automated braking, lane-keeping assist, and backup cameras were once the province of high-end vehicles. Now, they're everywhere.
(To be fair, Rolls-Royce is more about comfort than high-tech gadgetry, and the Dawn's offerings aren't anything to write home about. You could find the same features on cars that cost less than a tenth of the price. However, the principle that luxury cars set certain standards for mainstream cars to follow still holds.)
If you're interested in purchasing one of the three "Dawn – Inspired by Fashion" models, contact your local Rolls-Royce dealer to ensure it arrives by spring/summer 2017.