Bentley today confirmed it will launch an SUV in 2016.
It will be built at the company’s Crewe facility and is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs.
The news came as part of an announcement of an £800 million investment by the car maker over the next three years.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who was present for the announcement, 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 Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Volkswagen Group, 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 says the new SUV will be a “thoroughbred” and will represent the brand’s hallmarks of “luxury, performance, quality and craftsmanship.” The company goes on to claim that it will be unlike any other SUV, and will be the most powerful on the market.
Details of possible design directions have been scarce, but the Bentley EXP 9 F concept shown at Geneva in 2012 (pictured opposite) may offer some clues.