This year Bentley is on course - once again - to make more cars in Crewe than it ever has before. It’s a nice headline that hides a story, however, because much of that growth is driven by the arrival - and smash-hit success - of the Bentayga.
Elsewhere, business is hard. Chinese authorities continue to clamp down on spending on luxury goods, just last month adding a 10% tax to goods over a certain value at one day’s notice. The super rich are resilient to such things, of course, but when a government frowns on extroverted spending, it is bound to have a wider impact.
Meanwhile, the US and Europe are in a state of flux, and the Middle Eastern oil states are in limbo while the price of oil stays low. It is not an easy time to be trying to selling luxury cars.
That’s why Wolfgang Durheimer and the team at Bentley deserve so much credit for the Bentayga. There have been few cars as controversial in recent years, but they drove on with their vision and, my goodness, how they and the staff at Bentley must be thanking the forward vision of launching it now.
By adding an SUV line they have broadened their customer base - around half of buyers are from other brands, the vast majority stepping out of Range Rovers - and diversified their offering. As national situations change or trends move, Bentley is better placed than ever to react.