New Bentley boss Adrian Hallmark has acknowledged that the brand was not as prepared for future technology as it could have been - but he says it is now forging ahead with a revised strategy to ensure it is at the forefront of electrification.
The firm only launched its first electrified model, the Bentayga hybrid, earlier this year, Hallmark, who was appointed CEO of the firm earlier this year, moving across from Jaguar Land Rover, told Autocar: “We maybe weren’t as prepared for autonomous, connected and electrified strategies as we could have been.
“The [Bentayga] hybrid is a great first step but we need to do more than one hybrid. Hence the first thing we’ve changed [since I started] is the electrification of the cycle plan as fast as we can.
Hallmark, who previously worked at Bentley as a board member for sales, marketing and PR until 2005, added: “That’s been quite a big change and we’ve shuffled a number of things around to be able to do it. It means that in every name plate will be an electrified option - hybrid or full electric – by 2025. We’ll flesh out specific plans in the next three to six months. Certainly by the end of this year, we’ll be in a much clearer position about what we’ll do.”
Hallmark said he was “positively surprised” at the reaction to the Bentayga hybrid, which was revealed at this year’s Geneva motor show. “Of the five declared luxury brands of Lamborghini, Ferrari, Rolls Royce, Aston Martin and us, we’re the first to do it in a conventional, production, mainstream vehicle," he said. "And the kudos we’ve got for it, and the interest, is incredible.”
He predicts that hybrid volume will account for 10% of Bentayga sales from launch, but is hesitant to put firm numbers on uptake, citing California as a case in point: “It’s the leading market in the world for electrification and [electrified cars] still only accounts for 3% of sales.”
It’s possible that the next Bentley to be given a hybrid powertrain will be the upcoming Flying Spur, due later this year.
Hallmark also confirmed that a pure electric Bentley was due within the next five years, but would not divulge more details on which kind of model it would be. “I do know we will go electric in the next five years, it’s got to be, but bodystyles [for that car], we could do anything.”