Bentley wants to tap into the expanding market for bulletproof vehicles and is now thinking about introducing an armour-plated car range to the consumers in Latin America, the Middle East and Russia. Bentley sees the need for secure vehicles in countries where there’s a risk for kidnap and assassination.
Bentley's finance chief Jan-Henrik Lafrentz pointed out the rising demand in countries where security is an issue such as in Latin America, Russia, and the Middle East. He said that the VW-owned company is examining the business case of offering armoured cars. About 80% of Bentley sales are not in the UK.
The company’s Crewe factory doesn’t build the armoured vehicles. However, the automaker won’t divulge if it has produced armoured vehicles previously. It has been widely reported that Prince Charles owns a bulletproof version of the Turbo R. There are already armoured versions of Jaguar Land Rover’s two key brands. These were built by specialist manufacturers.
Bentley had sales of slightly below 4,000 vehicles in the first half of 2012, higher by 32% year on year, with US sales going up by a quarter and Chinese sales rising by 55%. For the first half of 2012, 557 Bentley models were delivered to customers – a 4.5% increase compared to the same period in 2011.
Bentley disclosed that the latest version of its flagship model, the Mulsanne, will now come with a wide range of new features aimed at enhancing luxury. Talking about the new choices offered for the Mulsanne, Mr. Kevin Rose, who is currently the Member of the Board for Sales, Marketing, and Aftersales, said that the different features will result in the Mulsanne having an attractive design mixed in with the most up-to-date technology. Because of this, he added, this model will be able to deliver an outstanding experience.
Both the graceful performance and luxury of the new Mulsanne are truly unmatched and the brand hopes that with these improvements, it will widen this model’s appeal to new markets, he continued. One such option is known as Comfort Specification. These include comfort footrests and headrests. It even has the loose duck-down filled cushions as a way of reasserting the status of the Mulsanne as a genuine bespoke grand tourer.
There is also the Entertainment Specification which integrates the newest technology. The picnic table for example has been designed to be used with not just an iPad but a wireless keyboard as well. Its entire cabin can even become a Wi-Fi Hotspot. Other improvements include the privacy curtains which are aimed at widening the experience for those sitting in the rear.
The curtains allow them to work or rest, all while travelling. For the exterior, Bentley said it will be extending the choice of paint colors with three new additions. The brand will be including as well new bespoke fitted luggage. The Mulsanne will be unveiled during the 2013 Geneva International Salon d'Auto. Customer orders will be accepted starting April 2013.