- ‘Sector-defining’ SUV designed, assembled in UK
- ‘Significant’ UK manufacturing investment
- First Bentayga to join Bentley’s Heritage Collection
CREWE, England – Out at last… a Bentley sport utility (that’s a laugh!) vehicle that’s been four years in gestation at the Mother Ship in Crewe, central England, and will make all versions of the off-road Lamborghini LM and the original Hummer look like wimps.
It’s the Bentley Bentayga (a conflation of the brand name with the Taiga, the world’s largest transcontinental snow forest, but also the Roque Bentayga on the island of Gran Canaria, off the north-west African coast – a multi-caved hunk of hill the height of Table Mountain once inhabited by an aboriginal tribe.
A chauffeur-driven Bentayga should (with a little off-road training) be able to whisk its hideously rich owner across, say, the Namib along a line of latitude or longitude while he/she/they dine on quail’s eggs washed down with Crystal Champagne from the on-board bridge.
Or, of course, just to the office…
It designers presumably meant it to look tough, with a bluff nose and a tank-like shell with sharp corners and almost vertical body panels. I regard it as ugly as hell, but then the eye (and discriminations) of the beholder… rather like the Audi Q7, in fact.
The first production Bentley Bentayga, a vehicle described by Bentley as the catalyst for one of its biggest investment programmes in the company’s history, left the assembly line at Bentley’s iconic headquarters in Crewe, England, on November 27 2015.
The Bentayga’s genesis is something that should give pause to the ANC (and the unions) even musing about messing with the South African auto industry. It created, The Corner was told, more than 1500 UK jobs as part of the nearly R18-billion investment programme.
With Job 1 off the lines, full production will start and first deliveries to dealers should start in January 2016.
Wolfgang Dürheimer, chairman and chief executive of Bentley Motors, said: “The Bentley Bentayga will be the benchmark against which all other SUV’s will be measured and define a new segment – the luxury SUV.”
Not strictly true: there are already luxury SUV’s – think Range Rover as but one, and believe me that is one comfortable cross-country carriage – yet Bentley obviously believes its new juggernaut is headed for a far higher elevation than even that Royalty-blessed and now German-owned (VW) range of all-wheel drive automobiles.
HM Elizabeth II likes her Bentleys; will she, perhaps, purchase a Bentayga to prompt a ‘Buy British’ programme and turn grouse and pheasant shoots into luxury experiences?
Dürheimer continued: “This car is a celebration of British manufacturing at its very best, not only reinforcing our commitment to industry, job creation and significant investment in that country but to our home in Crewe.
“This is an important moment in our history, one on which we should not only to reflect and celebrate but also look ahead from to delivering this extraordinary car to our customers. It would not have been possible without the support and belief from the UK government, our parent company and other business partners.
“We can all take pride in this achievement.”
The first production (‘hand-crafted’ and finished in Anthracite) Bentayga required 130 hours to assemble. During that time, the automaker said, it passed through a new body-store, a new paint shop and along a new assembly line.
Britain’s prime minister, David Cameron, was there for the occasion and quoth thusly, as well he might: “I’m delighted that the first Bentley Bentayga has rolled off the production line. It marks the culmination of a period of exceptional hard work by Bentley and its dedicated workforce.
“Well done to all at Bentley. This is a moment of great pride.”
ap out of the very area from which it now hopes to reap substantial riches.