Bentley Believes Bigger Bentayga Could Benefit Brand
Bentley Motors’ initial attempt at an SUV did wonders for its volume. While its status as an automaker catering exclusively to the rich keeps annual production totals exceptionally low, the Bentayga now accounts for almost half of its total output. After the model’s introduction in 2016, the Bentley’s annual deliveries shot up 33 percent in Europe.
That wasn’t a coincidence.
Ever since Porsche’s massive success with the Cayenne (introduced in 2002, if you can believe it), super-premium marques have been hunting for a way to make expensive crossovers work equally well for them. If you’re seeking supportive evidence, look no further than the Lamborghini Urus, Rolls-Royce Cullinan, Aston Martin DBX, or Ferrari Purosangue. Bentley’s Bentayga also qualifies, though the company has a slight lead over the field, giving it the opportunity continue capitalizing on the segment by introducing another model — just like Porsche did with the Macan.
While Porsche scaled its second utility vehicle down in size from the Cayenne, Bentley (which is likewise owned by Volkswagen Group) has every reason to go bigger. The brand is already synonymous with excess and the Bentayga is borderline dainty when compared to mainstream giants like the Chevrolet Suburban. Bentley just has to decide whether or not there’s actually a market for something so sizable. At 202 inches in length, the Bentayga is pretty big in relation to most other vehicles. But there are still vehicles in its own segment that are technically larger.
“I could imagine a bigger one, I could imagine a smaller one, I could imagine a coupe-type one and I could definitely imagine battery electric, but only battery electric when you get past that ’25 to ’30 period,” Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark told Automotive News this week. However, the brand has still committed itself to electrification, promising smaller, hybridized powertrains on all future models.
The CEO went on to say that battery technology has reached a level where the company feels comfortable using it on SUVs, adding that the general preference was to build a vehicle offering more of the brand was famous for — opulence. “We’d love to make an even more luxurious, even bigger Bentayga,” he explained. “Watch this space.”
Hallmark also expressed to Car & Driver that something would need to be developed to replace the Mulsanne. “Our ambition is to fill that price space for sure,” he said. “It will not be a sports car; we will not build sports cars. SUVs were 47 percent of our sales last year. If you look at the segment below us, it’s about 50 percent … the clear indication is that both premium-car buyers and luxury-car buyers now see SUVs as being far more attractive.”
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