Bentley Motors has confirmed that its new SUV will be built in Crewe and will go on sale in 2016. The big news is that the arrival of the new luxury off-roader will create over 1000 jobs at the company’s factory, which will receive more than £800 million’s worth of investment.
Bentley confirmed its interest in the luxury SUV sector at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, when it unveiled the EXP 9 F concept (below) – a bluff-looking, but extraordinarily well-trimmed SUV. It wasn’t universally loved for its styling, but the Range Rover rival makes sense for a company so reliant on China and the Middle East for its sales – and vehicles such as this prove popular.
The new SUV will not share the front-end styling of the EXP 9 F but will share much of its underpinnings with the fellow Volkswagen Group big hitters, the Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne/Volkswagen Toureg. With the L405 series Range Rover moving upwards in terms of market position and price, these two cars will probably end up being direct rivals.
Volkswagen Group Chairman Dr Martin 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.’
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 company described the new SUV as, ‘a thoroughbred Bentley true to the brand hallmarks of luxury, performance, quality and craftsmanship.’ It will certainly be imposing and, barring one-off specials, should be the market’s most ostentatious SUV yet.