Germany's Bentley to Lighten-Up. Maybe.
As our commentators debate the wisdom and/or necessity of the new, larger Honda Accord, our good friends over at The Car Connection (TCC) reveal that Bentley is looking at lightening their luxobarges. Well, at least they're talking about it. "They've embarked on an in-depth study that could sharply shift the brand's design and engineering direction," TCC reports. "A reflection of the fact that even the rich must recognize growing concerns about energy prices and global warming." So now you know: environmental sensitivity isn't just for poor people anymore. No really. "'We have to examine whether to change the philosophy of Bentley, which focuses on large, heavy cars with large, torquey engines,' explained [CEO Franz-Josef ] Paefgen." Then again… "The most dangerous thing for us to do would be to react to whatever we read in the papers… If our customers don't accept that (lightweight) approach, we'd be in big trouble." And when will we see these new, kindler, gentler Bentleys; you know, if we do? The new Arnage "may also feature the use of newer, lighter materials, rather than massive lumps of steel." And here I was thinking that was the entire point of the Arnage.
Bentley is precariously close to diluting their ultra-exclusive brand image. With the more-accessible Continental lineup (GT, Flying Spur, GTC), I'm seeing a LOT more Bentleys, and must say it's diluting the effect a bit. (Last Saturday, at a swanky upscale restaurant here, there were as many Bentley GT's as Merc SL's) Slippery slope here.
There is a limit as to how much a vehicle can actually weigh and still be considered a "car". Today we have so-called "cars" that weigh in excess of 5500 lbs! There is something wrong with this picture. So is excess weight now symbolic of luxury? Or is it what it really is, just plain excess.
(Percieved) image is one thing. Sales numbers are another. I wouldn't think that they are too unhappy about selling more cars... Apart from that, I'd guess they can use whatever they want to use, most people actually buying a Bentley won't care: The fact that the Continental GT is based on a VW Phaeton didn't seem to hurt the sales.
Is something like Roseanne Barr or Neuman ( Ken Knight) lose 1/2 the weight will it be funny anymore?