Bentley is going to build an SUV, it announced today.
It’s going to be a classy affair, and likely a good move for the luxury automaker.
The car will be made in Crewe, Bentley’s UK headquarters, and is scheduled to go on sale in 2016.
Bentley will invest £800 million ($1.23 billion) in the site and the development of new models, and says production of the SUV will create more than 1,000 UK jobs.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron was on hand in Crewe for the announcement.
“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,” he said.
Business has been booming for Bentley. The luxury arm of Volkswagen announced its global sales were up 9% in the first of of 2013, compared to the first six months of 2012. Sales have been steadily rising over the past four years, and the introduction of the SUV — a new kind of car for the automaker — could push those numbers much higher.
That’s because there is no SUV currently on the market to match what Bentley has in mind. As with all of the company’s offerings, it will be a clear cut above the the work of Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and other, more attainable, luxury brands.
No price has been released, but the cheapest Bentley currently on the market starts at $176,725.
The exclusive market niche could be spoiled if Rolls-Royce goes ahead with rumoured plans to build an SUV.
So far, Bentley has released only one official image of the SUV, and it’s a boring drawing that tells us nothing about the car, except that it will have wheels and be shaped like an SUV.
For further instruction, here’s a look back at Bentley’s concept SUV, the EXP 9 F:
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