Production green light for Bentley’s SUV?
A Bentley employee is said to have told The Sentinel newspaper that the SUV would go into production soon.
Bentley would not comment on the report.
The Crewe-based luxury brand showed the SUV as the EXP 9 F concept at the Geneva show in March. Reviews were mixed, with some observers slating the styling of the car.
Bentley CEO Wolfgang Duerheimer later told industry newspaper Automotive News Europe that if it was given the go-ahead, the SUV could sell between 3,500 to 5,000 examples a year – greatly extending the current 7,000-plus overall sales figure for the brand.
The comment suggesting the SUV has been given the green light is buried in a report in The Sentinel describing the anger of Bentley workers, following an announcement that the Crewe plant’s annual summer shutdown in August is to be extended from two weeks to three.
In a release Bentley confirms the extension, saying; “This is based upon a need to adjust our production plan to align the company with key supplier holiday times and enable a number of facility changes in preparation for future productivity increases.”
One unnamed worker quoted in the newspaper claims shop floor employees have been told that a bodyshell supplier could not keep up with output at the factory following recent major sales growth for the brand – up more than 30 per cent in six months. Bentley is said to have denied any supply difficulties.
According to the employee workers had also been told that with the new Bentley SUV going into production soon, work would be guaranteed for 14 years.
Words by: Andrew Charman