Volkswagen Group’s Bratislava, Slovakia, assembly facility will be expanded by the company through a 500 million euros investment to prepare the plant to produce the bodies of the upcoming Bentley Bentayga sport utility vehicle.
According to a company spokesperson, the German automaker is mulling the addition of a new car-body production line at the assembly unit by 2017, also creating in the process hundreds of new jobs. Currently, the group – the world’s second largest automaker and the biggest in Europe – is building at the Slovak factory the VW Up, Skoda Citigo and Seat Mii city cars, next to the larger VW Touareg and Audi Q7 large crossovers. It also produces the bodies for the Porsche Cayenne SUV. The Bentayga ultra-luxury crossover is scheduled to start sales in 2016 and the factory will add the production of bodies to support forecasted demand. Ultra-luxury brands were the last bastion of the traditional automotive industry that didn’t succumb to the SUV “fever” – but the “virus” has also spread there recently: with Bentley’s Bentayga among the initiators. Now, almost every luxury automaker has plans to introduce a crossover model, from Aston Martin to Rolls-Royce.
As far as the Slovak factory is concerned, according to Bentley officials, the Bentayga bodies produced at the Bratislava facility would be shipped to the company’s main plant in Crewe, England, for final assembly. “Bratislava will build the raw bodies, everything else will be done in Crewe,” commented the spokesperson for Automotive News Europe. Bentley is also adding 300 new workers and investing 40 million pounds ($59 million) at the Crewe offices as the brand is expanding its range of vehicles.