Bentley has been manufacturing cars for more than a century. Even so, its production is very limited, reaching just a few thousand units per year. In the past, there were even fewer. Bentley Motors has celebrated the 200,000th luxury car built in the company’s 100-year-plus history.
The Bentayga Hybrid, destined for a Chinese customer, met the oldest surviving Bentley, EXP 2, and a number of long serving colleagues, as it rolled off the production line at the home of Bentley in Crewe this week. This crowns an extraordinary 20-year period in which the success driven by modern day models such as the Continental GT and Bentayga has truly changed the face of Bentley Motors.
The manufacturing milestone is even more remarkable when considered that the 200,000th car is the latest in 155,582 vehicles built at Crewe since 2003 – the breakthrough year the Continental GT was originally launched as the first model of the modern Bentley era. Today, Bentley is building 85 cars per day, the same output in one month two decades ago.
In comparison to Bentley’s modern era, in the year of Bentley’s first existence, 1919, through to 2002, the company built 44,418 luxury cars – 38,933 of them in Crewe. Among that total were many iconic models of their time, including the Bentley Blower, the R-Type Continental, Mulsanne, Arnage and Azure. Incredibly, records show that 84 per cent of all cars built for the UK market are still on the road today.
A major investment programme at the Crewe factory since 2003 has gone hand-in-hand with the success of the Bentley Continental GT, the definitive luxury Grand Tourer. The 80,000th individual, made-to-order example was built in January this year.
To witness the landmark moment, the Bentayga Hybrid and EXP 2, were joined by Bentley’s longest serving colleagues, including Steve Ward, who joined in 1977, and followed in his father’s footsteps, his own Bentley career beginning 42 years earlier.
Bentley will move to full electrification – PHEV or BEV only – by 2026, then switch the entire model range to battery electric vehicles by 2030.