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Bentley outlines environmental strategy

Bentley is planning to produce cars in its range that are capable of running on bio-fuel as part of its environmental strategy.

Stuart McCullough, sales and marketing chief, said that by 2012 its entire range of luxury vehicles will be able to run on the next generation of renewable fuels.

He said: “There are concerns about current biofuels and the conflict with food production but we are looking at the next generation of bio-mass and residue from straw and wheat.

“By making our vehicles compatible with this type of fuel we will be ready for it as and when it becomes widely available.”

Bentley will be the first luxury maker to have its entire range capable of running on renewable fuels and is also working on a new engine which will deliver a 40% improvement in fuel economy while further engine efficiencies will see emissions drop 15% across its range of cars.

The Crewe-based car maker, part of the Volkswagen Group, made and sold just over 10,000 vehicles last year, a level it is happy with for the time being according to McCullough.

He said: “But we have to look what is happening around the world, particularly in emerging markets such as Russia and China. Wealth is growing and within a few years there will be 11 million high net-worth people globally with a combined purchasing power of $50-60 trillion. These are people who can afford to buy Bentleys.

“10,000 cars a year is only scratching the surface so we will watch how the markets develop.”

The Crewe factory is currently running to capacity on its two shifts. McCullough said: “If we were to increase capacity we would have to put on a third shift and that means increasing production by 5,000 vehicles, we couldn’t just do one or two thousand, so this is not something we are looking at short term.

“We are happy with the number of vehicles we produce at the moment as we do not want to over-supply the market.”

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