According to anonymous sources VW gave Bentley the approval to manufacture a SUV to expand beyond the high-end coupes and sedans.
Details regarding the new model are to be made by the end of this week according to the sources. The SUV is expected to be based on the EXP 9 F concept, which was unveiled last year at the Geneva motor show, but the design will be changed substantially.
According to previous comments, the SUV will be the most expensive in its segment, with a base price of around 180,000 euro ($237,000). The model will be a tough competitor for Tata’s Land Rover, but it will take at least three years to reach the market. This SUV is of utmost importance for VW’s plan to boost Bentley’s sales to 150,000 units by 2018, almost doubling the current level.
The addition of the SUV is similar to the strategy adopted by Porsche and its Cayenne SUV, now the automaker’s best-selling vehicle. The new SUV will complement Bentley’s lineup, besides the Mulsanne sedan and the Continental GT coupe. In 2012 Bentley sold 8,510 vehicles worldwide, up 22% from the previous year. Operating profit reached 100 million euro in 2012 compared with 8 million the previous year.