Had it not been for Bentley ‘s reputation — garnered through success at the famous Le Mans 24 Hours sports car race — it could have disappeared altogether.
But no more — now Bentley is buzzing. Its factory in Crewe is bursting at the seams, and being reconfigured to allow the firm additional capacity.
And although the company never admits sales targets, it seems inevitable that in the next two years it will break its own annual production record by delivering as many as 12,000 cars.
The Bentley revolution started in 1998 when its owner, military firm Vickers, offloaded it to the enormous Volkswagen Group (VW).Bentley would deliver just over 400 cars that year, and the German management at VW could have allowed the brand to wither.Instead it invested heavily, and continues to do so. The firm is sinking almost one billion dollars into Bentley’s factory as the British brand — founded by W.O. Bentley in North London in 1919 — heads towards its centenary celebrations.
Buildings which once made Merlin engines for famous World War Two planes like the Lancaster, Hurricane and Spitfire in the 1940s have now been cleaned, painted and equipped with the largest roof-based solar panel set-up in the UK.
Generating the success to support this expansion has taken careful nurturing from VW, and it has nudged Bentley into the 21st century while retaining the craftsmanship and bespoke service that have kept it alive for almost a hundred years.
Its first focus has been production, and the site at Crewe in the UK has changed dramatically over the past decade.
The entire site is now being used and new buildings include a bodyshell preparation facility and a research and development center — something unthinkable in the 1980s.
Source : CNN