Bentley company is a British manufacturer of luxury automobiles that was founded in 1919.
The company is known for its handcrafted vehicles and has been referred to as the “grandfather of the sports car.”Bentley company is located in Crewe, England, and its headquarters are now considered to be the largest car manufacturing site in the world. The success of Bentley’s luxury vehicles has allowed them to open development centers throughout Europe, Asia, North America, South America, and Africa.
The first Bentley factory opened in 1922 on Lichfield Street in Crewe with a capacity for 100 cars per year. This factory operated until 1929, when it was destroyed by fire leaving only one Bentley left undamaged at the scene. A new factory was opened in the nearby town of Cricklewood that still stands today and was used to manufacture Bentley vehicles until 2006. The production capacity of the Cricklewood factory grew to more than 12,000 cars per year and remained unchanged from 1960 until 1993 despite numerous ownership changes. The Cricklewood facility is still used for specialist vehicle assemblies, such as building bespoke (custom) cars, coach building, and final assembly processes.
In 2003, Terence Cuneo purchased Bentley under the holding company Exotic Car Holdings (ECH). In October 2005, Volkswagen purchased a 90% holding in ECH, including Bentley, the remainder owned by Audi AG. In 2007, Volkswagen bought the remaining 10% from Audi, thus gaining full control of Bentley. In October 2008, Porsche AG acquired Bentley from Volkswagen, making the company a subsidiary.
In November 2009, it was announced that a new assembly plant would be built at Crewe to produce the next-generation Bentley SUV model in late 2010. The model will be based on the second-generation Volkswagen Touareg platform. It is reported that a Bentley factory will also be built in China in the near future, where it is predicted that one-third of sales will come from China.
The current range consists of the Continental GT and GTC and the Mulsanne range, which includes V8 and V8 S variants. A third SUV is expected to be added to the range in 2011. In 2010, Bentley broke its all-time sales record after selling over 500 cars in one month.
In January 2013, Bentley appointed its second Chinese top executive with the appointment of Peter Schwarzenbauer, as Managing Director of Bentley China. He was previously Director of Sales and Marketing at Mercedes-Benz China and Shanghai Volkswagen joint venture.
In July 2017, it was announced that BMW would take a majority stake in Rolls-Royce Motor Cars by purchasing all issued shares. BMW and Volkswagen will retain “equal control” over the company.
The current Chairman of Bentley Motors is Wolfgang Schreiber, and the Chief Executive Officer is Adrian Hallmark.
Bentley is a niche manufacturer in the luxury automotive world and produces both hand-made and mechanically complex vehicles. All vehicles made by Bentley are different from each other in many ways, including body design, engine configuration, technology performance, and style. The highest price ever paid for a Bentley was 1 million euros (1 million pounds) which is approximately $1.5 million USD.
Bentley vehicles are also highly customizable and come with abundant options such as interior color/leather selection, wheel design/size selection, and exterior color/finish selection. Options can be changed at any time during vehicle ownership until the final delivery date.