While no concrete details have been released, Bentley says that it will be the "most luxurious and most powerful SUV" on the market. Past rumors have indicated that the SUV will look completely different from the 2012 EXP 9 F Concept (shown in the gallery below), be renamed the Falcon and offer options like a plug-in hybrid version and three-row seating. To prepare for a fourth model in its lineup, Bentley will be investing 800 million British pounds (around $1.2 billion USD) into its Crewe headquarters and production lines over the next three years. Scroll down for Bentley's press release officially confirming the new SUV.
-Fourth model line to be built in Crewe
-Sales will begin in 2016
-Over 1,000 UK jobs created
-New model will be true to Bentley's brand hallmarks
-Extremely positive customer response to an SUV by Bentley
(Crewe, 23 July 2013). Bentley Motors today confirms that it will proceed with the development of the Bentley SUV, the company's fourth model line. The SUV will be made in Crewe and will go on sale in 2016. It will create over 1000 jobs in the UK. Over the next three years Bentley will invest more than £800 million in its headquarters at Crewe and the development of new models.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who was present together with Dr Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Volkswagen Group for the announcement at Bentley headquarters in Crewe, said: "This £800 million investment and a thousand new jobs from Bentley is fantastic news for both Crewe and for the UK as a whole. It is another important milestone in strengthening our economy.
"One sector that we know is sprinting ahead in the global race is our booming automotive industry. One vehicle rolls off a production line somewhere in the UK every 20 seconds and we have just launched the Government's Automotive Industrial Strategy to help continue this success for years to come.
"I am delighted that Bentley will be building their new vehicle here, not only creating a thousand jobs, but safeguarding many more, as well as increasing training opportunities for highly skilled apprentices."
Dr Winterkorn said: "The Volkswagen Group believes in the UK as a competitive location for industrial production. Bentley fans all around the world are looking forward to the brand's first SUV. Together we will make this new Bentley another true Bentley – powerful, exclusive and successful."
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "This is a welcome commitment to the UK from a major international car maker. Our automotive industrial strategy proves this government's commitment to working with world-class companies like Bentley to create jobs and promote exports.
"Bentley was the first firm I visited as a government minister and serves as a real example of high value manufacturing. They export more than four out of every five cars they make in the UK to the rest of the world."
Bentley's Chairman and Chief Executive, Dr Wolfgang Schreiber, added: "This is excellent news for Bentley and for the UK. Bentley is increasingly successful and this new fourth model line will leverage the success of the global SUV market. The support of everyone involved with the Company has been fundamental to this decision, which will ensure sustainable growth for the company."
The SUV will be a thoroughbred Bentley true to the brand hallmarks of luxury, performance, quality and craftsmanship. The styling will set it apart from any other SUV on the road and will be true to the Bentley design DNA. It will be the most luxurious and most powerful SUV in the market. The response from customers to a Bentley SUV has been extremely positive in the last 16 months.