Luxury carmaker Bentley Motors has today confirmed it will go ahead with production of an elite SUV model at its assembly plant in Crewe.
The company’s fourth model line will create more than 1,000 jobs in the UK and will go on sale in 2016.
Over the next three years Bentley, part of Volkswagen Group, will invest more than £800 million in its headquarters at Crewe and the development of new models.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who was present together with Dr Martin Winterkorn, chairman of Volkswagen Group for the announcement at Bentley headquarters in Crewe, said: “This £800 million investment and a thousand new jobs from Bentley is fantastic news for both Crewe and for the UK as a whole. It is another important milestone in strengthening our economy.
“One sector that we know is sprinting ahead in the global race is our booming automotive industry. One vehicle rolls off a production line somewhere in the UK every 20 seconds and we have just launched the Government’s Automotive Industrial Strategy to help continue this success for years to come.
“I am delighted that Bentley will be building their new vehicle here, not only creating a thousand jobs, but safeguarding many more, as well as increasing training opportunities for highly skilled apprentices.”
Dr Winterkorn said: “The Volkswagen Group believes in the UK as a competitive location for industrial production. Bentley fans all around the world are looking forward to the brand’s first SUV.
"Together we will make this new Bentley another true Bentley – powerful, exclusive and successful.”
Bentley exports more than four out of every five cars it makes in the UK to the rest of the world.
Bentley’s chairman and chief executive, Dr Wolfgang Schreiber, added: “This is excellent news for Bentley and for the UK. Bentley is increasingly successful and this new fourth model line will leverage the success of the global SUV market. The support of everyone involved with the Company has been fundamental to this decision, which will ensure sustainable growth for the company.”
Bentley said the SUV will be a thoroughbred Bentley true to the brand hallmarks of luxury, performance, quality and craftsmanship.
The styling will set it apart from any other SUV on the road and will be true to the Bentley design DNA, it said, and it will be the most luxurious and most powerful SUV in the market.
The response from customers to a Bentley SUV has been extremely positive in the last 16 months, said the carmaker.