According to Bentley Motors’ parent company, The Volkswagen Group, “Bentley’s ethos is ‘luxury performance’. The company manufactures high performance, exclusive and individual luxury cars.”
This is a modern interpretation of the mission of the marque’s founder, Walter Owen Bentley (WO), who believed that a Bentley should be “A fast car, a good car, the best in its class.”
In line with the Volkswagen (VW) Group’s stated vision to become the world’s most successful, fascinating and sustainable car manufacturer by 2018, the vision for Bentley Motors is to become the world’s most successful luxury car maker.
A stated objective, by Bentley Management, is to increase the number of vehicles sold per year to 20,000 units by 2020. This represents a doubling of the output of 2014, a record breaking sales year for the 95 year old brand.
In reaching this goal, Bentley must achieve it without detriment to the VW group’s sustainability goal.
Bentley Motors Ltd. makes it clear, through its freshly re-designed website, that it holds certain core values, which resonate throughout the company’s history, and which guide the brand towards its goals.
Heritage & Tradition
Bentley’s rich and colourful history, peppered with decisions which were often more emotional and technical than they were logical or financial, created a brand which people took to their hearts. To this day, even the earliest Bentleys are lovingly kept on the road by a loyal fan base and the company seems to recognise the value that spirit adds to the brand.
The Bentley Motors factory is a very modern manufacturing facility albeit in an old stone building. But the old approach to hand-crafting is still very much a part of the building of a Bentley. Customers are prepared to pay the high price of a Bentley because they appreciate the human effort that goes into its creation. Allowing customers to visit the factory and take part in a small aspect of this craftsmanship, lets them see this craftsmanship in action and adds value to the brand, in the customer’s eyes.
Much of a Bentley’s appeal, as an aspirational product, is in its design. VW made a conscious decision to steer its design away from long-time sibling Rolls-Royce, and in doing so designed a car that kept the presence of a Bentley, but appealed to a far less traditional customer base. For the best part of 70 years, Bentley’s pretended to be sports cars without looking much like one, but from 1998 onwards, that began to change. The style shifted away from the staid old-school look, to go after the new money. Having said that, personalisation has always been a key strength in Bentley’s product offering.
Bentley has to play its part in helping the VW Group reach its sustainability targets. Where it wouldn’t compromise the image or the performance, Bentley has successfully introduced smaller, cleaner engines, and more efficient work practices to help reduce its overall impact on the environment. Each new car it builds has to be designed and constructed with the environment in mind.
Crewe has been home to the Bentley brand for around 75 years, and it is a major employer in the community. It has begun to take a more active role in engaging with the community through providing work placements for local school pupils, supporting local and national charities, and providing employee travel support, including showers for those who cycle, and a car sharing scheme.
The earliest Bentley models were proven on the race track, and the support Bentley received in its early days grew largely from the motorsport fraternity. Since it came under the umbrella of the VW group, Bentley has tasted success at Le Mans once again, and now has an active motorsports programme for works teams and owner racers, in a range of disciplines.