Bentley is a wonderfully traditional car maker that revels in its mastery of classic themes and skills, something that has seen it reach its 100th birthday. However, the luxury marque has now pledged its allegiance to the future with promises of going fully electric, focusing on becoming carbon positive and attracting the best talent by becoming the workplace of choice for the next generation.
Bentley has announced a total reinterpretation of itself for the next 100 years, and here’s how it plans on doing it.
Bentley is the world’s largest manufacturer of twelve-cylinder engines, with its smooth W12 being famed for its effortless torque delivery. However, by 2030 Bentley will no longer produce combustion engines at all – quite the change after 100 years.
Bentley aims to create a car that possesses all of the hallmarks of the brand, and not just some electric clone from the Volkswagen Group. We were told that there will be ‘synergies’ with new models, but Bentley knows the value of its brand and are keen for that not to be diluted. The switch to electric might actually be a positive for Bentley characteristics thanks to the instantaneous torque provided by an EV.
While 50% of Bentley customers are currently buying W12 cars, 55% of all buyers recently said they would buy an electric Bentley within the next five years. That timeframe marries perfectly with the first all-electric Bentley in 2025. It will sit on an all-new platform and likely takes styling note from the EXP 100 GT concept car.
Before 2025, we can expect to see plug-in hybrid variants of the two other models in 2021. As mentioned, the whole range is set to be electric by 2030. Bentley is also exploring the possibility of carbon neutral fuels to keep existing Bentleys on the road.
Bentley has already invested in creating two brand-new research and development centres in Crew – home of Bentley since the mid-1930s.
You might not know it, but the Bentley factory has actually been carbon neutral for two years now. A huge array of solar panels live at the site in Crew, generating much of the energy needed for production. Any additional power that’s needed is bought from green sources, and Bentley has also installed ‘living walls’ consisting of plant life to soak up further carbon. The factory is even home to 300,000 bees!
Being carbon neutral is quite an achievement, but Bentley wants to go further in the future. By using technology currently under development, it wants to be carbon positive and actually absorb more CO2 than it produces. That would mean a world without Bentley would actually be worse for the environment.
Bentley knows its customer base is evermore concerned with the environment and will aline with brands that feel the same way. It’s clear that this green revolution goes beyond building electric cars.
Bentley’s customer base is evolving at a rapid rate. While grand Bentleys used to be the preserve of a wealthy grandparent, the marque’s revitalisation has lowered the average age of its owners. These more youthful buyers love what Bentley represents and the exclusivity that comes with the brand, but are also looking for more technical innovation and more unique experiences behind the wheel. The first part of this equation will be tackled by Bentley’s Mulliner coachbuilding division that will create evermore varied projects and materials, while investment in the latest innovations aims to keep Bentley ahead in the tech war.
Bentley projects that by 2030 60% of its customers will be under 40 as affluent millennials become part ofthe equation. Buyers of Bentleys are more diverse than ever before, and it is expected that also in 2030 that 35% of customers will be successful women.
Bentley is very focused on the next generation, in terms of customers and employees. It knows it will need to rely on the skill and talent of future staff to take Bentley into the next 100 years. An emphasis was placed on going digital and how new technology will be high on the agenda in its up and coming cars. Training existing and taking on new employees in these areas are said to be crucial.
There’s also a big push for diversity and inclusion. Bentley wants people from ‘all walks of life’ to have equal opportunity in the company, and so it aims for 30% diversity in management by 2025. It is also keen to attract more women into key roles by creating a better work-life balance and training in new areas.
Bentley wants the very best people working for it, and it aims to achieve that by making life at the company irresistible to big talent.