Bentley to start SUV production in 2015, aims for 3,000-unit annual sales

Article by Christian Andrei, on April 26, 2012

Bentley intends to achieve annual sales of 3,000 units of its planned SUV. Its production commences in 2015, CEO Wolfgang Duerheimer revealed during an interview at the Beijing car show. He disclosed that the company is confident of obtaining approval to manufacture the SUV from parent Volkswagen by the end of this year.

The UK-based ultra-luxury brand previewed the vehicle with the EXP 9F Concept revealed at the Geneva motor show in March. The automaker displayed a silver-blue concept model in Beijing. It also provided engine details for the first time. The automaker said that aside from a flagship 6.0-liter W-12 engine, an array of advanced powertrains is being considered for the production vehicle, including a V-6 plug-in hybrid and a 4.0-liter 500-hp V-8 Twin turbo.

With a possible range of 30 km in full electric mode and carbon dioxide emissions of 130 g/km, the V-6 hybrid could accelerate to 100 kph from a standstill in less than 5 seconds, Bentley explained. In 2011, Bentley sold 37% more vehicles as demand for the company's models increased by 100% in China, helping the brand become profitable for the first time since 2008. Duerheimer disclosed that at present, they are working out their internal company business case and that it "looks very optimistic."

Duerheimer expects this SUV to be priced from 160,000 euros or $210,000 to 200,000 euros, or higher compared to the SUVs currently available on the market. 

The automaker, which also manufactures the Continental GT luxury coupe, disclosed that it intends to sell the SUV in "developed SUV markets" like China, the UK and the United States. According to Bentley's interior design chief Robin Page, the preferences of the Chinese customers were a consideration in the styling of the automobile. China surpassed the United States to be the largest sales market for the company during the first quarter with 547 automobiles sold.

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