The business will sport a new logo based on the typeface that characterises the engine cover of all the Crewe-built cars - a move that Bentley hopes will reinforce the authenticity and origin of the parts. “This initiative is an important step in supporting our Rolls-Royce customers and our dealer network in the future,” says Julian Jenkins, Bentley Motors aftersales marketing manager.
He adds that Crewe Genuine Parts will be made to the same standards and specification as the original Rolls-Royce components and will be available through its Bentley Authorised Dealer Network. Bentley believes it will continue to service about 75 per cent of the 140,000 Rolls-Royce cars built at Crewe since 1904 after BMW takes over Rolls-Royce next year. With a six-year/60,000-mile full hydraulic service costing owners about £3500, this market could be worth more than £325m.
This business will undoubtedly help Bentley as it strives to move back in to the black. Analysts estimate the Volkswagen-owned firm is racking up major losses while £700m is invested in the “baby Bentley” - due for launch in 2003 - and upgrades to its existing production facilities at Crewe.
By continuing to service Rolls-Royce cars, Bentley is hoping existing customers will stay with the company and move on to the new mid-sized Bentley. Peter Baines, general secretary of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts club, says most of its 10,000 members feel strong attachment not only to Crewe-built vehicles, but to the dealers where they had bought and serviced their cars over the years.
Bentley says Rolls-Royce cars account for less than 25 per cent of total group sales compared with 96 per cent 20 years ago. BMW will take over Rolls-Royce on January 1 when production will move to the German carmaker's new Goodwood plant in Sussex. The badge deal was originally signed in 1998 when BMW agreed to a five-year hand over period.