Parent Volkswagen has approved a new SUV from Bentley to enter production, according to German newspaper Handelsblatt. Citing board sources, the report revealed that VW's supervisory board has entered a deal to produce an ultraluxury vehicle based on the EXP 9F concept presented at the Geneva auto show in 2012.
The report added that the SUV, which is known internally as Falcon, will have a starting retail price of 200,000 euros ($271,000). It’s likely that the model is produced at VW's plant in Slovakia, with final completion to be done at Bentley's plant in Crewe, England. Bentley has yet to confirm this report. According to Automotive News Europe, a spokeswoman said that the company continues to wait for the official approval from Volkswagen.
She added that it seems to be “very positive” that its production will get the green light. At last month’s Detroit auto show, Bentley CEO Wolfgang Schreiber said that the SUV's design will look a lot like the rest of the Bentley brand instead of taking after the quite controversial design of the EXP 9F concept. He said that the SUV is likely to have its launch in three years.
He said that it’s likely that the SUV will be powered by an eight-cylinder engine and maybe even an optional W-12. The SUV is expected to have a major role in Bentley’s expansion goals.
In 2012, the global unit sales of the brand rose by 22% to 8,510 units. Handelsblatt said that Bentley is aiming for sales of as many as 5,000 SUVs annually. This vehicle will be joining similar models that Lamborghini and Maserati plan to tap into a rising market for ultraluxury SUVs of the very wealthy people in countries like China and Russia.