How Rolls-Royce Motor Cars continue to entice younger clients by launching a car inspired by the CIA’s mysterious statue.

British luxury carmaker, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is continuing its quest to intrigues more and more of wealthy younger customers. One interesting example of these efforts is the recently launched Rolls-Royce Wraith Kryptos Collection, a special car of only 50 units worldwide and features a labyrinth of complex cyphers that hidden in plain sight throughout the vehicle.

Kryptos sculpture at CIA HQ in Langley. (Picture courtesy of Wikipedia)

The car draws its inspiration from the Kryptos sculpture, created by the American artist Jim Sanborn and located on the grounds of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Langley. The sculpture has an encrypted message that has not been successfully cracked for almost three decades.

“We took inspiration from the sculpture, but not directly the coding itself. It’s very intriguing to hear the myth of the sculpture and people still trying to decipher it for such a long time. So it’s that kind of intriguing feeling that we want to transport to one our collection car as well,” Katrin Lehmann, Bespoke Designer Colour & Trim at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars says via a Skype interview.

A sketch of one of the cyphers (Picture courtesy of Rolls-Royce)

Katrin is a young designer who conceptualized and designed the Wraith Kryptos Collection. She who joined the Bespoke Design division since 2018 after completed her bachelor’s degree in industrial design in Munich.

“As a designer, I’ve always been fascinated by the notion that you can communicate messages that are understood by only an elite few, using symbols, pictograms, and cyphers,” Katrin says.

For the car, Rolls-Royce created its unique cyphers that spread throughout the vehicle. Starting from the Spirit of Ecstasy on the hood of the vehicle that has a cypher on the base, the double coachline on the exterior depicting clues relating to the interior code, and inside elements of the cypher are embroidered into Wraith’s headrests, where the ‘double-R’ emblem often be found.

cypher are embroidered into Wraith’s headrests (Picture courtesy of Rolls-Royce)

Only two people at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood know the secret of the code, the designer and the Chief Executive. The answer itself has been placed in a sealed envelope, in the safe of the CEO.

“We called it a cryptographic journey, of course, when you enter the car and looking from the exterior view you will definitely in first sight identified something different with this car and intriguing. Something is hidden, and there are second sight details which you might not see right away, but getting in contact with the car over a long time or try to explore the car more will reveal more to you as well, as there’s a different level of coding,” Katrin says.

A sketch of the Wraith Kryptos Collection (Picture courtesy of Rolls-Royce)

According to Katrin, the Rolls-Royce Wraith is chosen for the design because of its sporty characteristic and younger customer profile. The typical owners of these are more dynamic and like to take the wheel, and of course, you need to be young. As aside from spending more than one million dollars on a car, you need that extra time to crack the code.

Younger customers are getting more attracted to the brand, as in recent years the average age of Rolls-Royce customers has dropped to 45 years old. According to a recent research from Bain & Company, Generations Y and Z accounted for 47% of luxury consumers in 2018 and 33% of luxury purchases.

There are no plans to bring cyphers as an option for future cars from Rolls-Royce, but the Kryptos Collection will contribute its share on the development of upcoming vehicles from the marquee.

Atypical starlight headliner (Picture courtesy of Rolls-Royce)

The car has an atypical starlight headliner, a popular option that features thousands of tiny LED lights to simulate the stars at night. The Wraith Kryptos has a bi-coloured headliner depicting an in-motion data-stream inspired motif.

“With the Kryptos car we have taken that to another level, with moving lights, different colours, and the graphical effects overhead, is more creative than what we had before. I guess this is what we are looking to do, to take things that we are known for and to develop it further,” Gavin Hartley, head of bespoke design of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars says.

Aside from the headliner, the unique illumination feature of the car will also influence the design of future vehicles from Rolls-Royce. These features arguably more appealing for the younger clients of the brand.

“Equally you can see how the illumination has brought in into the car, that’s something we will do more of is using lights not just to show things but also create an experience and a very appealing environment. So in the future, we will develop the craft skill to create an immersive experience with lights. It is something essential for us to look at,” Gavin says.

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