Ultra-luxury brands beware, another one of your comrades is falling down the shame spiral and building a - gasp - SUV!
Sure that’s a little dramatic, but so are all of the people that are scoffing at the fact that Bentley has now confirmed a new SUV scheduled to hit their lineup sometime in 2015. If everyone remembers correctly, these are the same people that were horrified that Porsche decided to build the Cayenne and look how well that turned out for them.
Now, with a 37-percent increase in sales in 2011 (to 7,003 vehicles sold), Bentley is looking to double this number by the time this new SUV, rumored to have the name "Falcon" — comes out by making it "the world’s most luxurious 4x4" SUV and targeting growing SUV markets like the U.S. and China. The "luxurious" title will also match the price; rumors point to the starting price for this future SUV coming in at $271,000, making the $48,200 starting price of the Porsche Cayenne look like it belongs on a Kia Sportage .
So, what constitutes the jumbo price tag? Other than the supposedly tremendous amount of luxury built into the future SUV, rumors are swirling that a V-8 twin-turbocharged engine would be the standard powerplant and a W-12 engine is a possible option.
Bentley is taking a big step with its improving sales by giving an SUV a chance to flourish. Does the world need a strong competitor for the Porsche Cayenne? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean that high-end customers with deep pockets won’t be writing out checks for a chance to wallow in the luxurious nature promised by Bentley.
Updated 1/8/2014: During an interview with Auto Express, Bentley Chairman Dr. Wolfgang Schreiber confirmed that the upcoming Bentley SUV will be available as a hybrid model with a plug-in system similar to what we saw in the Panamera S E-Hybrid . Schrieber also confirmed that the standard SUV, which already has over 2,000 pre-orders, will arrive in 2015 as a 2016 model, and that the the hybrid will arrive a year after the standard Bentley SUV. (Auto Express)
UPDATE 02/03/2013: Volkswagen Group has finally given the green light to the EXP 9 F super-luxury SUV unveiled at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. The production version is internally known as the "Falcon" and is expected to be unveiled in the upcoming three years. The good news is that reports are pointing toward that the production version likely dropping the controversial design of the EXP 9F concept and will adopt a more conventional Bentley look. When put on sale in will be priced at about 200,000 euro - about $271,000 at the current exchange rates. Additionally, Bentley plans to sell about 5,000 units of its new SUV per year. (Automotive News)
UPDATE 07/23/2013: It’s official... No more speculation, no more reports and no more rumors; Bentley has officially given the green light to the yet-to-be-named SUV. Bentley claims that this will be the most luxurious and powerful SUV on the market. As expected, Bentley will not stray from the automaker’s current design language. Bentley has announced that its new SUV will hit showrooms in 2016, will be built in Crewe and will create over 1,000 new jobs.
Green light for Bentley SUV
- Fourth model line to be built in Crewe
- Sales will begin in 2016
- Over 1,000 UK jobs created
- New model will be true to Bentley’s brand hallmarks
- Extremely positive customer response to an SUV by Bentley
(Crewe, 23 July 2013). Bentley Motors today confirms that it will proceed with the development of the Bentley SUV, the company’s fourth model line. The SUV will be made in Crewe and will go on sale in 2016. It will create over 1000 jobs in the UK. Over the next three years Bentley will invest more than £800 million in its headquarters at Crewe and the development of new models.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who was present together with Dr Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Volkswagen Group for the announcement at Bentley headquarters in Crewe, said: "This £800 million investment and a thousand new jobs from Bentley is fantastic news for both Crewe and for the UK as a whole. It is another important milestone in strengthening our economy.
"One sector that we know is sprinting ahead in the global race is our booming automotive industry. One vehicle rolls off a production line somewhere in the UK every 20 seconds and we have just launched the Government’s Automotive Industrial Strategy to help continue this success for years to come.
"I am delighted that Bentley will be building their new vehicle here, not only creating a thousand jobs, but safeguarding many more, as well as increasing training opportunities for highly skilled apprentices."
Dr Winterkorn said: "The Volkswagen Group believes in the UK as a competitive location for industrial production. Bentley fans all around the world are looking forward to the brand’s first SUV. Together we will make this new Bentley another true Bentley - powerful, exclusive and successful."
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "This is a welcome commitment to the UK from a major international car maker. Our automotive industrial strategy proves this government’s commitment to working with world-class companies like Bentley to create jobs and promote exports.
"Bentley was the first firm I visited as a government minister and serves as a real example of high value manufacturing. They export more than four out of every five cars they make in the UK to the rest of the world."
Bentley’s Chairman and Chief Executive, Dr Wolfgang Schreiber, added: "This is excellent news for Bentley and for the UK. Bentley is increasingly successful and this new fourth model line will leverage the success of the global SUV market. The support of everyone involved with the Company has been fundamental to this decision, which will ensure sustainable growth for the company."
The SUV will be a thoroughbred Bentley true to the brand hallmarks of luxury, performance, quality and craftsmanship. The styling will set it apart from any other SUV on the road and will be true to the Bentley design DNA. It will be the most luxurious and most powerful SUV in the market. The response from customers to a Bentley SUV has been extremely positive in the last 16 months.