Tony Gott, chairman and chief executive of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, resigned unexpectedly yesterday.

Gott had been chairman for two years, and a long-time employee of Rolls-Royce/Bentley prior to the VW take-over.

BMW deny that Gott was forced to resign, instead reporting that he was leaving for ‘personal reasons.’

Disappointing sales of the new £250,000 Phantom, which looks likely to miss its 1,000 unit annual target, are possibly behind Gott’s resignation, although insiders also hint at a long-running poor relationship with VW management.

Karl-Heinz Kalbfell, who previously ran the company before Gott’s appointment, will take over in the meantime.