Why Bentley needs a third model image

Bentley needs to add a third model to its line-up to give a better balance and stability to its product lifecycle, said Geoff Dowding, Regional Director, UK, Middle East and Asia.

The company is “at the latter stages of decision making,” he said, adding that the idea of a Bentley SUV is “universally accepted. It’s the execution of it that is the issue.”

That’s why the SUV concept, unveiled at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, was “deliberately provocative.” It was meant to start the debate on how a Bentley SUV could look, he said.

The first generation Continental GT, launched in 2003, reached a peak around 2007; the second-generation car, heavily revised technically in 2010, will also have a natural sales peak, he said.

The Continental GT, GTC (the convertible), Flying Spur (the four-door saloon) and the GT Speed, currently being launched to the media in Germany, account for around 85 per cent of Crewe output while the balance is made up by the £221,000 Mulsanne.

Around half of GT buyers opt for the V8, the others buying the W12 version; of those, half have historically opted for the GT Speed model, said Dowding, a pattern he expects to be repeated with the latest £151,000 version which is Bentley’s fastest production car. The 616bhp W12 has a top speed of 205mph and covers the 0-60mph sprint in four seconds.