By coincidence, both companies chose yesterday — and locations in Central London — to reveal their results for 2013. Such meetings provide unmissable opportunities to meet the chief executives in their most expansive mood, which means you hear lots of fascinating stuff about achievements of the past and plans for the future.
The day started with a trip to the deeply tasteful Rosewood Hotel in High Holborn for breakfast with about 20 other hacks, followed by a speech-plus-Q&A at 9am sharp by Dr Wolfgang Schreiber, the CEO.
Bentley’s message is impressive (record sales; a further 50 per cent expansion planned following the 2016 launch of the much-ballyhooed SUV) and Schreiber was in urbane and amusing form, having relaxed into the job to the extent that — if the body language of his accompanying PR director was anything to go by — he might have been a shade too helpful with our questions.
One source of amusement was his answer to my enquiry whether Bentley would show another concept of its SUV before launch, given that they had learned plenty from their first, much-panned version shown in Geneva two years ago, and had since redesigned it. “The feedback was fantastic, and we did learn a lot,” agreed Schreiber with a grin, “but we learned enough.” The message was clear: the next time we see the Bentley soft-roader it’ll be in production.