Bentley Confirms New SUV And New Sports Car
Bentley’s family of models will soon get bigger now that the British automaker has confirmed plans to add two more models to its lineup. The two vehicles are said to a compact SUV that will eventually slot below the Bentayga and a sports car that will set its sights on Aston Martin.
The decision to green light these new models comes as part of a bigger plan by Bentley to double its sales volume to around 25,000 units per year. The launch of the Bentayga SUV is already part of that same plan.
As far as priorities are concerned, the crossover will take precedence over the sports car as Bentley tries to capitalize on the momentum gained by the buzz surrounding the Bentayga. The crossover is expected to be launched in three years sporting different powertrain options, including a V-8, diesel, and hybrid versions. The yet-to-be-named crossover will also receive a modern styling that will appeal to the younger generation, a market that Bentley admittedly is still trying to reach.
As soon as it’s released, the company is expected to shift its focus on a new sports car that’s been described within Bentley as a “small soft-roadster” that will likely be based on the EXP10 Speed Six that was unveiled at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. Details are bare on this car, but there is word that it would include a four-wheel-drive battery electric unit that can power the car to a top speed of around 200 mph. If the crossover’s timetable doesn’t experience any snags, a concept version of the sports car could make its debut sometime in 2017, with a production timetable of around 2020.
Once both models are in the market, Bentley is confident that it can boost the company’s sales volume right in the neighborhood of its 25,000 units per year target.
Note: Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 concept pictured here.
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Why it matters
Almost every automaker in the world today is planning some form of business expansion. Bentley’s no exception to this. A few years ago, the company only had the Continental to go to and to a lesser extent, the Flying Spur. Then in 2012, the Mulsanne was launched. That’s been followed by the Bentayga SUV. Now, these two new models are in the pipeline. Sure, Volkswagen has yet to make it official, but at this point, it’s a matter of ‘when’ and not ‘if’ these models will be launched.
I’m not a math wizard, but by 2020, Bentley could have at least five models in its lineup, some of which will have different variants under them, further expanding the roster of vehicles wearing the iconic Bentley wings. It’s an audacious move by a company that, for the longest time, seemed to be averse to this type of aggressive expansion. But, given the current climate of the industry, it’s hard not to see Bentley’s rationale of jumping into the ocean.
So far, the gamble has paid off. The Mulsanne has reported strong sales numbers since it was launched three years ago. More importantly, demand for the Bentayga SUV has been so strong that Bentley’s already adjusted its sales forecast for the SUV, pushing it up to 5,500 units a year from the 3,600 units it was initially pegged at. All this has been happening despite the SUV not being out on the market yet.
How these two new models will fare when they’re released is still anyone’s guess. Besides, neither is expected to hit the market in the immediate future so there are still a lot of things that can happen to change the course of Bentley’s business strategy. But, at this point, the British automaker has every reason to be confident about its aggressive expansion plans.
Read our full review on the Bentley Bentayga here.