The late June announcement that Baker Motor Company would be a Rolls-Royce dealer culminated a process spanning many months, the company namesake says.
"The 39th dealer in America; That's amazing. It's been on the dais for three years," Tommy Baker, owner and president of Baker Motor Company, told The Post and Courier in a June 27 interview.
Two days earlier, Baker made public that the iconic British brand would be the latest addition to the company's new-car stable.
"Rolls-Royce is the benchmark of super-luxury," Baker said in prepared remarks. "It is a natural fit for this brand to have an appointment here in Charleston, and we are honored that Baker Motor Company will add this legendary brand to our world-class lineup," he said.
New handcrafted Rolls-Royce Motor Cars sell for $325,000 to $600,000, Baker said. Luxury models boast engines capable of 600 horsepower.
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Charleston will serve all of South Carolina and parts of North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and Tennessee, the company said.
Plans are already underway for a plush Rolls-Royce showroom at the Baker Motor complex on Savannah Highway. Baker said the new building should open by this time next year.
"I don't want it just to be a showroom (but) a gathering place, something special," he said.
Meanwhile, the owner expects the first shipments of Rolls-Royce autos to arrive in Charleston early this month.
They will include:
. The Phantom Drophead Coupť displayed at the New York Auto Show.
. Several of the brand's newest addition, the Wraith.
. The only Pinnacle Travel Collection extended wheelbase Phantom destined for the U.S. The Phantom will arrive in Charleston after first being showcased by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars North America at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in August.
The new Wraith began production just eight months ago. "There couldn't have been a better time for a new dealer," Baker told The Post and Courier. "We are real fortunate there."
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Charleston will serve a region of 7 million people, he said.
Major cities in the territory include Charlotte, Wilmington and Asheville in North Carolina; Savannah in Georgia; Bristol, Va.; Johnson City and Kingsport, Tenn., as well as greater Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head Island in the Palmetto state.
Baker Motor Company is unveiling the "Charleston Delivery Experience" for its Rolls-Royce clients. They'll receive first-class hotel accommodations, dinner in a top-notch Charleston restaurant, an historic guided tour of the city, event tickets and the use of a personal concierge "to book any special travel arrangements or excursions," the company said.
Metro Charleston, in becoming the 39th Rolls-Royce dealership in the U.S., joins a rarefied list that includes Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Beverly Hills, Las Vegas and Miami.
In wooing Rolls-Royce, "We made a presentation with a beautiful leather bound book, not of Charleston but the Lowcountry and the state of South Carolina," Baker said.
The company owner said he's been interested in Rolls-Royce for some time. "For me, it was the only thing missing," Baker said. "I think it's a coup for Charleston," he said. "It's good for all of us."
Baker launched Baker Motor Company in 1988. Today, the company describes itself as the largest privately held auto dealer group headquartered in South Carolina.
The company, primarily based west of the Ashley, operates new car dealerships representing 12 brands: Rolls-Royce, Mercedes-Benz, Sprinter, smart, Infiniti, Maserati, Porsche, Land Rover, Jaguar, Buick, GMC and Cadillac.
Baker Motor Company was named one of Automotive News' Best Dealerships to Work For in 2013 and has earned the "prestigious" Best of the Best award from Mercedes-Benz seven of the past 11 years.
To learn more, visit www.bakermotorcompany.com or call 843-852-4000.
For additional information and photos, visit www.postandcourier.com/automotive.
Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first new Rolls Royces should arrive in Charleston in a few weeks, said Tommy Baker, owner of Baker Motor Co. The new dealership building should open in a year, he said Friday in Charleston. Leroy Burnell/Staff 6/27/2014.×
The Rolls-Royce Phantom is available as a convertible.×
The Rolls-Royce Ghost is one of the brandís classic models.×
A plush interior marks this Rolls-Royce.×
Rolls-Royce has a distinctive hood ornament.×