Bentley reveals that production of new SUV could start as soon as 2015
19 March 2013

The new Bentley SUV could be built in Bratislava and not in Crewe, it has been revealed at Bentley's annual press conference.

Bentley chief Wolfgang Schreiber said that a positive decision was expected on the SUV "very soon". The model would enter production in 2015 or 2016, should the production sign-off be granted in the next few weeks as expected.

Schreiber said just a few "last hurdles" of the business case needed to be assembled, one of which was where the model would be built.

Two options are being proposed: one is for the still-unnamed Bentley SUV to be built in Crewe, and the other is for it to be built in Bratislava alongside the Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7 and Volkswagen Touareg models on which the SUV would be based.

"We want to build sustainable cars that make money," said Schreiber. "But we have the components and the craftsmanship skills in Crewe."

Schreiber said that capacity was not an issue at either plant – 3000 to 4000 units per year are being projected – but instead that a whole other suite of options was being weighed up, including logistics, investment, craftsmanship, knowledge and labour rates.

As a board, Bentley would prefer the model to be built in Crewe but Schreiber said that this was not to say that the Volkswagen Group board was pushing for the model to be built in Bratislava.

"We are all fighting for the best decision for Bentley," said Schreiber. "Everyone in VW knows how motivated and skilled the workers in Crewe are and their interior craftsmanship is a true asset."

If the model were to be built in Bratislava, it would be the first Bentley sold without the famed 'Made in Crewe, England' plaque since some examples of the Flying Spur were built in Dresden in 2005/06. Instead, a 'Designed in Crewe, England' plaque would likely feature.

Even if the model ended up being built in Bratislava, almost all the interior components would be shipped over from Crewe to give the model the exclusive Bentley feel.

Schreiber admitted that from the outside the decision for the SUV to be signed off for production seemed long and complicated, but in reality it was a fairly straightforward internal checklist that was being worked towards and there was "nothing unusual" about this project.

The SUV that is expected to be signed off for production will look very different from the concept model revealed at the Geneva motor show last year, Schreiber revealed.

"It's completely different now and already ready for final development," he said. "It has the DNA of the current cars but looks even more special as a very modern SUV.

"It has lots of new technology, a hand-crafted wood and leather interior and a powerful, torquey engine with effortless acceleration."

He admitted there was "room for improvement" with the design of the original concept.

More than 2000 orders have already been placed for the model, despite no one having seen the final look or knowing the final price.

"That is testament to the fact that people don't question the idea of such a car as a Bentley," said Schreiber.

Sales director Kevin Rose said the price of the new Bentley SUV would pick up where the new Range Rover left off. With versions of the Range Rover eventually expected to come in at around £125,000, this is the anticipated entry price for the new Bentley. 

Around 50 per cent of sales of the new SUV are expected to come from the US and China, with the Middle East, Russia and Europe next in line with an even split.

The new SUV would form a key part of Bentley hitting its sales target of 15,000 units per year by 2018, almost double the 8510 registered in 2012.

With regards to the name, both Rose and Schreiber confirmed it would not be Falcon, and that the firm was working on a name that would work across its global markets.

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Comments
34

R32

19 March 2013

I would have thought building this car in Bratislava would kill it stone dead.  Then again, anyone vulgar enough to buy one and possessing such little taste probably won't care where it's built.  It will be big and be bling and that's all that will matter to them.

I'd sooner have a Mulsanne Shooting Brake thank you (are you listening Bentley in Crewe?).

19 March 2013

If you can get the same quality finish at half the hourly rate?,well, wouldn't you?.

Peter Cavellini.

19 March 2013

If it was built at the cheapest labour rate it would not be reflected in the price otherwise why are any cars made in Germany,  UK and USA.Ther eis now an increasing awareness that if you pay full prices you want the goods made in the Country appropriate to the product imagine a Rolls or Porche, Ferrari or Bentley made in India or Bratislava, you would want it half price, far cheaper than the likely savings in production costs.You would pretty well b---er up the ethos of the Brand in my opinion.

19 March 2013

Peter Cavellini wrote:

If you can get the same quality finish at half the hourly rate?,well, wouldn't you?.

Because it's a Bentley. We're not talking about a VW Polo or Golf. There's history which goes with the marque.

19 March 2013

Pychris, it's probably the same history that goes with Indeset, Hotpoint or any other white goods manufacturer, as far as Volkswagen is concerned...

19 March 2013

At this price level yes it does matter where the vehicle is built Bentley is one of the great names in the UK's motoring history. It's bad enough that this new Bentley will share VW group platforms and components with other marques such as Audi & VW neither of which produces vehicles with the same level of prestige as Bentley.

I'm sorry that I sound like an automotive Victor Meldrew but it matters that the new Bentley should be built in the UK, if it is built abroad in a country that has little motoring heritage of note then it reduces the Bentley name to a badge fixed to a car that has little connection to it's illustrious predecessors.

PS if I was a Porsche Cayenne owner I would be less than pleased to find out the true country of origin for something that I had paid a considerable amount of money for a German product

 

 

 

TS7

19 March 2013

ianp55 wrote:

 

PS if I was a Porsche Cayenne owner I would be less than pleased to find out the true country of origin for something that I had paid a considerable amount of money for a German product

'Tis the way of the world. Do the owners of other German car brands that assemble models other than in das vaterland care?

19 March 2013

"With versions of the Range Rover eventually expected to come in at around £125,00, this is the anticipated entry price for the new Bentley." ... I appreciate that Eastern European wages are low, but £125 for an entry-level Bentley SUV?? ...  

19 March 2013

This is badge-engineering like BMC used to do - it matters not if it's built to the same high quality, it loses the value of heritage completely.

I still aspire to have a Crewe-built Bentley but if this is VW's future direction then the dream is over and I'm better just remembering them as they were.

19 March 2013

Lewis Kingston wrote:

"We want to build sustainable cars that make money," said Schreiber. "But we have the components and the craftsmanship skills in Crewe."

Sales director Kevin Rose said the price of the new Bentley SUV would pick up where the new Range Rover left off. With versions of the Range Rover eventually expected to come in at around £125,000, this is the anticipated entry price for the new Bentley. 

Sorry, am I missing something here?

They have 2000 orders for this car without a price or even design being seen, so it is clear which sort of market this car is being bought by.  Up the price by another £10,000 per car (which will more than off set any saving made by moving it to Bratislava) and build it in the UK.

I can't see them loosing significant sales from the small increase.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

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