Bentley sees US as major market for high-priced 2016 SUV

Article by Anita Panait, on September 17, 2013

Bentley expects the United States to account for around a third of the expected 3,000-4,000 annual sales of its $200,000 sports utility vehicle arriving in 2016, according to Kevin Rose, the carmaker’s global head of sales and marketing. The high-priced SUV, which is costlier than the most expensive Range Rover, will create a new segment, Rose said, adding that the new unit will be the “most expensive and luxurious SUV” in the world.

Bentley’s global sales chief remarked that the carmaker is targeting the Range Rover since almost 30 percent of its customers own one. The new Bentley SUV will be powered by a 12-cylinder engine that provides 575hp to 650 hp of output and will be underpinned by a platform that also underpins Audi and Porsche all-wheel-drive vehicles.

According to Rose, the high-priced SUV will be available with four, five or seven seats, although a seven-seater is not that popular among customers. The new SUV vehicle will have high ground clearance and "will be as capable off-road as the Range Rover."

Rose said that the new Bentley offering is “really” an SUV – able to “go up and down sand dunes” in the Middle East, and “able to tow stuff in the wet field" in Europe. According to Rose, other body styles may be possible in the brand's Continental range, such as a four-door coupe, although the brand isn't likely to sell a lower-priced car, since that that would bring Bentley “into Jaguar territory."

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