Rolls-Royce In America Rolls-Royce in America
The Rolls-Royce Springfield factory in Massachusetts
It was not long after Rolls-Royce started as a commercial venture that its leaders looked toward the United States – first as a fertile market for the sale of their motorcars and then soon afterwards as a place to manufacture the motorcars. World War I temporarily interrupted those plans but soon thereafter Claude Johnson returned to America. The reasons were straightforward: 1) America was the most important car market in the world buying more cars than the rest of the world combined, 2) US duty taxes on imported cars was indeed high resulting in high prices and fewer sales, 3) the British plant had a huge backlog trying to keep pace with pent up demand following the war 4) the long delays in shipping cars across the Atlantic. Springfield was chosen as a site for similarly logistical reasons – potential cost savings and quick access to the best US markets. In 1919, the company incorporated as Rolls-Royce of America and acquired its first US manufacturing plant in Springfield, Massachusetts. Production began the following year. By 1923, Rolls-Royce presence in the U.S. was substantial. Rolls-Royce of America Inc. manufactured nearly 3000 Silver Ghosts and Phantoms before succumbing to the Great Depression. To this day, Springfield is the only place outside England that Rolls-Royce cars have ever been built.