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Bentayga to boost Bentley

Future now: The Bentayga will showcase new technology for Bentley in an unfamiliar arena.

Bentley sales to increase by 50 per cent with tech-heavy Bentayga

Bentley logo6 May 2015

By TIM NICHOLSON

BENTLEY’S forthcoming Bentayga SUV will usher in new technology for the British marque and will boost overall sales by 50 per cent when it goes on sale next year, says the company.

Bentayga will be Bentley’s first SUV, and the first of the ultra luxury high-riding wagons to market, with Rolls-Royce’s mooted off-roader still in development, and Lamborghini’s Urus SUV still not confirmed for production.

Speaking with media at the inaugural Bentley Golf Invitational in Melbourne this week, Bentley Motors South-East Asia and Australasia regional manager David Jackson said the local ultra-luxury market will expand with the arrival of Bentley’s first new nameplate since the 1980s.

“Super luxury is around about 500 cars a year (in Australia),” he said.

“Bentley's ambition is to take 20 per cent of the direct competitor set. We are expecting to increase our sales by 50 per cent with SUV.”“When you look at our competitor brands, Rolls-Royce are looking at creating an SUV derivative now, we have the Aston Martin crossover concept at the Geneva motor show.

“You look at the competitor focus on the SUV segment now, the market could potentially double with the influx of competitive brands.”

Details of the Bentayga are still under wraps until its official unveiling which will take place at either the Frankfurt motor show in September or the Dubai motor show in November.

It will be offered with Bentley’s famed W12 engine, as well as a V8 for entry variants, a diesel powertrain and a plug-in hybrid version.

The British brand's high-rider is likely to be built using the Volkswagen Group MLB platform that underpins the new Audi Q7, Porsche’s Cayenne and the Volkswagen Touareg.

Also speaking at the event, Bentley Motors Asia Pacific regional manager of marketing and communications Silvia Saliti said buyers would potentially step up into the Bentayga from premium SUV brands such as Range Rover.

“Effectively we will be the first one to launch a luxury SUV because it is not a Cayenne, and it is not a Range Rover,” she said. “It's a new edge.”

Mr Jackson said Bentley has used resources within its Volkswagen Group parent company to develop technology for Bentayga, an area he admits the company has fallen behind in following the results of a study involving “high net worth individuals”.

“Part of the benefit of being part of the Volkswagen Group is you have access to a lot of resources. A lot of those resources are research, in which we participate.

“It (the study) has told us we have not blazed a trail when it comes to technology. We are painfully aware of that. It hasn’t really dented our sales or our brand image. It’s just that customers are giving us feedback.”

Mr Jackson said technology will be a greater focus with future Bentley models, and added that focus groups would help identify what the marque’s buyers want in their car.

He also said that while growth is expected from the SUV, Bentley will work to maintain brand exclusivity.

“There is a balance to be struck in all of this – we need a volume to generate revenue to reinvest in product development. We have got to kind of pay for the future now. As well as realising we don’t want to be ubiquitous.

“You have got to keep an edge of exclusivity with our cars – it’s a very fine balance – we as a business go into great detail with our product planning, lifecycle planning and supply planning as well. So there is a great amount of energy and effort expected to get that right.

“Having said that, as Bentley we are about power, performance and luxury. We are renowned as the centre of excellence for W12 engine within Volkswagen Group. We build things.

“We will probably be launching with a larger engine car and then roll out with the V8s and diesels and petrol hybrids in future as well.”

Mr Jackson said the specification levels would vary, but suggested it would not be the most affordable Bentley on the market.

“The specification, as with all of our models, there will be an entry level spec. but the sky is the limit'” he said.

“When you see the car, you will see that this vehicle is purely built, more than anything about the luxury, the utility nature of this car, it's so versatile, and there are so many options and so much technology.

“Pricing is still to be confirmed, But it won't be the entry level of entry level Bentleys.”

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