Britain, not Bratislava, will build Bentley’s luxury 4X4 off-roader, the carmaker will reveal today.
It is expected to announce investment worth more than £500 million (R7.5 billion) and the creation of hundreds of jobs, to build 4000 of Bentley’s first SUV every year at its factory in Crewe.
The knock-on effect for suppliers could take the total jobs created to well over 1000.
Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to hail the decision as a vote of confidence in Britain and another welcome sign of a healing UK economy.
Bentley, which is owned by Germany’s Volkswagen group had been considering manufacturing the £150 000 (R2.25 million) 6-litre V12 Bentley SUV in the Slovakian capital.
The 4X4 will go on sale from 2015-16 and will be central to plans to double the luxury carmaker’s sales to 15 000 by 2018. Sales were already up 22 percent last year to 8510.
The long-awaited decision in Britain’s favour means the ‘Made in Crewe, England’ plate will continue to resonate.
Cheaper labour rates in Slovakia, and uncertainty over whether Britain will remain in the European Union if there is a referendum, were counting against the UK case.
It is understood Crewe is also in line for subsidies worth up to £7m tied to training and more jobs being created.
Had the decision gone the other way, it would have been the first volume-produced Bentley to be built outside of the UK in its near 100-year history. It would have been built alongside other cars belonging to the Volkswagen Group, such as the Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7 and Volkswagen Touareg.
Bentley declined to comment, but the brand has been a huge success story for Volkswagen. -Daily Mail