A Bentley SUV has finally been confirmed and the new car set to be made at the factory in Crewe, Cheshire, rather than alongside the next Audi Q7 in Bratislava, Slovakia, as previously suggested.
The SUV will go on sale in 2016, with the company set to invest over £800million in its Crewe HQ and developing new models before then. More than 1,000 UK jobs will be created as a result of this investment.
Dr Martin Winterkorn, chairman of the board at the Volkswagen Group, said: “We believe in the UK as a competitive location for industrial production. Bentley fans all around the world are looking forward to its first SUV. Together we will make this car another true Bentley – powerful, exclusive and successful.”
The Bentley SUV EXP 9 F concept was previewed at the Geneva Motor Show in 2012, but the manufacturer has since hinted it’ll change the design in response to customer feedback.
Bentley released a sketch to accompany this announcement, and it reveals a slightly sportier profile than the concept. There’s an uncanny resemblance to Porsche’s Cayenne, too, suggesting the two SUVs will share more than just a platform – they’ll have similar proportions as well.
CEO Dr Wolfgang Schreiber told Auto Express: “We already have 2,000 pre-orders without customers knowing the price or styling. Since the concept we’ve worked hard on the exterior and interior, and it’s now ready for final development. It looks more like a Bentley; more modern.”
The plan is to sell 3,000 to 4,000 SUVs a year, which would make the new model a crucial part of Bentley’s aim to boost annual sales from 8,510 last year to 15,000 cars by 2018.
Schreiber also said there’ll be a small overlap with the Range Rover on price, suggesting the SUV will start at around £120,000.