Our vote goes to the Jaguar XJ. The best luxury car has to be British, naturally…
It’s time to choose your favourite luxury car to help decide the winners of the Telegraph Motoring Awards
Luxury cars lie close to the heart of the British motoring public. Bentley and Rolls-Royce are built here and British designers are important across the entire luxury car sector worldwide. And even in straitened times, luxury car sales have continued to boom, which is a fact we recognise at The Telegraph 2014 Festival of Motoring coverage, in which you can vote for your favourites cars in a variety of categories, as well as the overall winner.
When Henry Royce first met Charles Rolls at the Midland Hotel in Manchester in 1904 all cars were luxurious. Even the most humble cyclemotor was well beyond the pay packet of the average worker and it would take the production might of Austin, Morris, Ford and others to pare down the production costs in the years following the First World War so that they could be afforded by a burgeoning middle class.
Indeed there is a theory, expounded by, amongst others, Martin Adeney, the former BBC Industry Editor in his book The Motor Makers, that Britain was never particularly good at mass-producing motor cars. In disposition and management, we were ill disposed to making the same thing reliably, within minute tolerances, year in year out. What we were and are good at, however, is making Motor Cars, luxurious transports of delight powered by behemoth engines and filled with the finest leathers and wood veneers capable of stirring the hearts of the most reluctant Mr Toads.
Go to the UK plants of Nissan, Honda, Toyota or BMW’s Mini factory in Cowley and you’ll quickly discover it’s a theory that barely survives first contact with the truth. Last year the UK produced 1.509 million cars and 87,671 commercials, turning over £59.3 billion and directly employing 731,000 people with a further 600,000 employed in suppliers, dealers, and aftermarket trades. In other words, we are good at mass production, but mainly for foreign owners.
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