Big SUV no guarantee of company stability.
Bentley has surpassed an important milestone for its Bentayga SUV.
The British luxury vehicle brand announced that the 20 000th Bentayga has been delivered, which marks a notable achievement.
Although the Bentayga was considered deeply divisive of Bentley’s traditional values at launch, it has become a vital product in the company’s portfolio.
Product planners at Bentley realised that wealthy customers were not always domiciled in places with great tarmac driving roads. They desired the design, luxury cabin craftsmanship and technical features which have always defined Bentley, but with an ability to drive on all terrain types.
The solution has been Bentayga, which has conquered new customers for Bentley and added additional revenue, without sacrificing too many engineering resources. Although a tremendously heavy vehicle, even more so than Bentleys limousines, the Bentayga has adequate engineering applied, to ensure it drives as a Bentley is intended to.
Balancing the large SUV through corners are electrically powered anti-roll bars, which manage to do a very credible job of keeping the Bentayga centred.
Despite the success of Bentayga, there are issues with Bentley’s overall business plan. The company is planning and executing all research and product development according to a new ‘Beyond100’ strategy. This to ensure that Bentley remains a leader in luxury motoring, for the next 100 years.
An unexpected part of this Beyond100 programme has been the unhappy outcome of redundancies. Bentley has discovered that it is overstaffed for current product demand and announced that nearly 1 000 employees will be retrenched. That number accounts for nearly a quarter of Bentley’s entire workforce.
Unlike most automotive manufacturers, Bentley is labour intensive and has resisted the rampant mechanisation of many high-volume assembly plants. Many parts of a Bentley are built by hand, especially the highly customizable cabin architectures and finishes.
Despite valuing the art of craftsmanship and handbuilt excellence, not even Bentley has proven immune to weak luxury car demand. Or the pressures of cost analysis and the lure of increase mechanisation.