Top 10 Luxury Car Supply Chains
Supply Chain Digital counts down the ultimate luxury cars by cost.
With supply chain operations becoming increasingly complex worldwide, all industries are in a state of transformation, including the automotive sector. The introduction of new technology has changed the parameters of what a luxury car can offer and has propelled leading automotive manufacturers to seek innovative ways to differentiate their vehicles. According to EY’s Confederation of Indian Industry report, “automakers must balance one foot in today and one foot in the future to maintain a leadership position in the new mobility landscape.”
As a result, Supply Chain Digital looks at the most luxurious cars in the world and observes what makes their manufacturers and their supply chains different.
10 | Jaguar XJ
The Jaguar XJ is a different proposition to previous models despite still being a saloon. The rear-wheel drive XJ is one of the lightest cars in its class and is instantly recognisable by its black-clad C-pillars, designed to blend seamlessly with the rear screen, giving the façade of one, wrap-around window. There are automatic LED headlights and revised daylight running lights that are standardised on all models. The vehicle’s wheelbase is extended by 125mm over the standard-length car. With previous versions lacking space, the latest XJ doesn’t have that same issue as it possesses significant rear legroom and generous headroom. The vehicle can be purchased for around £60,550.
Top Gear verdict: “This is a lovely big limo. So svelte, it can make a politician look cool.”
Jaguar HQ: Coventry, England
No. of employees: 43,224
9 | BMW 7 Series
The German automaker is renowned for producing highly regarded cars with the BMW 7 Series no exception. Considered a well-rounded car to drive, its luxurious Nappa leather interior helps it look the part too. The brand’s iconic kidney grille is 50% larger than previous models and sits perfectly with the elevated bonnet and redesigned front and rear bumpers. The vehicle offers BMW Adaptive LED Lights as standard, new sculptured 3D rear lights as well as 20” M light-alloy wheels with new eye-catching multi-spoke design. BMW is headquartered in Munich, Germany, and the car retails at a price of around £68,130.
Top Gear verdict: “Can BMW’s ultimate limo finally beat the Mercedes S-class, by a nose? Not quite.”
BMW HQ: Munich, Germany.
No. of employees: 134,682
8 | Audi A8
The four-door luxury saloon with Audi Virtual Cockpit, Audi Sound System, rear-view camera and LED headlights with high beam assist is available for around £70,125. With Audi already boasting an extensive portfolio of vehicles, the Audi A8 offers a different experience of the brand. The vehicle possesses state-of-the-art technology like “Traffic Jam Pilot”, which offers conditional level three autonomy and takes complete control of the steering, brakes and accelerator on motorways and dual-carriageways. The vehicle provides rear-seat passengers with a phone-sized screen in the armrest with the rear cabin considered as comfortable as the front. Widely considered an impressive limo, the Audi A8 comes with fuel-efficient engines, a superb minimalist interior design and extensive kit.
Top Gear verdict: “A8 sits at the top of the many-branched Audi tree. Has all the tech your A4 probably will in five years’ time.”
Audi HQ: Ingolstadt, Germany
No. of employees: 91,674
7 | Porsche Panamera
The German automotive manufacturing giant, Porsche, has a total production output of approximately 246,375 vehicles (2017). The Panamera is memorable to sit in, with a large, form-fitting cabin that resembles the Porsche Cayenne. However, what sets the vehicle apart is its technology. Porsche has embraced digitalisation via two 7.0in of high-resolution displays in the instrument cluster, the left-hand side delivering “Speed and Assist”, while the right provides “Car and Info”. The Panamera has a main touchscreen of the PCM infotainment system that has a 12.3 display that extends the entire width of the centre console, transforming the vehicle to become one of the leading cars with state-of-the-art tech. The vehicle retails at a price of around £72,890. Despite Porsche’s headquarters and main factory being located in Stuttgart, the firm’s Cayenne and Panamera models are manufactured in Leipzig, Germany.
Top Gear verdict: “At the second time of asking, Porsche gets the Panamera properly right.”
Porsche HQ: Stuttgart, Germany.
No. of employees: 30,500
6 | Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Providing all of the ambience, workmanship and materials of a luxury car, the S-Class Saloon is a highly sought-after vehicle. Its Saloon model offers multibeam LED lighting, a panoramic sliding sunroof with magic sky control as well as ambient lightening to help set the mood. Leveraging the latest semi-autonomous driving technology such as Remote Parking Assist, Active Lane Change Assist and Active Speed Limit Assist, the S-Class is certainly eating at the table among other major players in the luxury car market. Retailing at a price of £73,740, the car can go from 0-62mph in six seconds. It holds its assembly operations in Germany, India, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Top Gear verdict: “Mercedes throws everything it knows into the S-Class. Freshly facelifted, it’s better than ever.”
Mercedes HQ: Stuttgart, Germany
No. of employees: 145,400
5 | Range Rover
As one of Land Rover’s flagship vehicles, the Range Rover is a luxury SUV that encompasses the latest technology such as pixel-laser LED headlights and adaptive cruise control. Owned by Jaguar, The Land Rover Range Rover costs around £75,940 and is considered the ideal vehicle for off-road driving due to the higher seating position of the driver compared to other vehicles. The car possesses an executive class seating option for rear-seat passengers that provides 40° degrees of recline and a powered rear centre console.
Top Gear verdict: “The best off-roader in the world might be the best luxury car in the world.”
Range Rover HQ: Coventry, England.
No. of employees: 43,224
4 | Bentley Continental GT
Offering a brand-new 6.0 litre, twin-turbocharged W12 engine the Continental GT is a popular vehicle among luxury car fans. The car features clean, superformed lines and a wide, low body which emphasizes a sense of speed and presence. Having been created to provide effortless, exhilarating driving, Bentley’s new vehicle can go from 0-60mph within 3.6 seconds. Recognised as the most advanced Bentley ever, the GT features innovations throughout the drivetrain and holds its assembly line in Crewe in the United Kingdom. Bentley’s Continental GT retails for around £159,900.
Top Gear verdict: “Bentley takes the Continental GT in a more dynamic direction.”
Bentley HQ: Crewe, Wales.
No. of employees: 3,600
3 | Aston Martin Vantage
Truly a high-end car manufacturer, Aston Martin’s Vantage model is one of Britain’s most highly-thought of vehicles. Known for its appearances in popular spy-film franchise James Bond, the Aston Martin has a high powered 4.0 litre twin-turbocharged V8 that produces that recognisable Aston Martin roar. In 2018, Aston Martin released a press release announced revenues of £876mn ($1.1bn) which demonstrated a profit of £87mn - £250mn more than the £163mn loss sustained in 2016. The sales were the highest that the automotive giants achieved since 2008, with the company expanding to producing more than 5,000 cars from 3,600 annually. With its assembly in Gaydon, Warwickshire, it really is considered a British great.
Top Gear verdict: “Punchy, exciting, yet still big-hearted and amazingly comfortable. The baby Aston is also the best Aston.”
Aston Martin HQ: Gaydon, England.
No. of employees: 555,000+
2 | Ferrari GTC4Lusso
Offering its drivers a completely different experience, Ferrari’s flagship vehicle is “powerful, yet sophisticated, sporty yet luxurious.” The vehicle’s interior is sporty luxury with a beautifully balanced Dual Cockpit architecture which significantly enhances the driving experience. The GTC4Lusso offers a dash design that incorporates a 10-inch integrated central screen as well as an alternative display for the passenger, in addition to the ability to control music, tweak the sat nav and make phone calls from the passenger side. At a cost of over £200,000, it’s one for those prepared to dig deep for a touch of luxury, but then, the Ferrari GTC4 Lusso sets the bar very high.
Top Gear verdict: “Four-seat Ferrari FF gets facelifted. Meet the even more appealing GTC4Lusso.”
Ferrari HQ: Maranello, Italy
No. of employees: 3,336
1 | Rolls-Royce Phantom
The definition of luxury, the Rolls-Royce Phantom is high-end at a price of £363,600. However, for that sum, Phantom boasts unrivalled space and a truly unique design which makes it one of the most luxurious cars around. Rolls-Royce remarks on its website: “Phantom is the original, a unique work of art. Your Phantom is one of one.” With a new spaceframe structure 30% more rigid than its previous model and a 2,560kg kerbweight, Phantom can handle all types of roads with ease through the assistance of fully electric power steering and is considered the pinnacle of luxury engineering. The England-based manufacturer holds its assembly line at the Goodwood Home of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in Chichester, West Sussex.
Top Gear verdict: “Nothing in life is perfect but the Phantom gets close. An imperious, impeccably engineered automotive experience.”
Rolls-Royce HQ: Derby, England
No. of employees: 50,000