London - Bentley is set to start production of its ‘super-SUV’ Bentayga next month, but the extra costs involved have resulted in a 75 per cent slump in profits.
Bentley, which is owned by Volkswagen, has invested £150 million (R3.1bn) in adding capacity to its manufacturing plant. In addition it has hired an extra 400 employees.
Sales remained steady for the 12 months to December 31, 2014, but profits dived from £181 million to £46.4 million.
The new vehicle, which was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show last month, will be manufactured at Bentley’s production facility in Crewe.
The most basic version has a price tag of £160 200 (R3.3m) – making it the world’s most expensive SUV.
Buyers will be able to choose from 90 exterior colours and seven wood veneers. The leather hide upholstery will come in 15 different colours.
A spokesman for Bentley said orders were already coming in, but declined to disclose whether the Queen, who owns several Bentleys, was on the waiting list.
He said: “It’s a big deal for us and for the British car industry.”
Bentley, which sold a record 11 020 cars last year, unveiled its new corporate branding at its dealership in Pangbourne, Berkshire, last week.
The company said it had not been affected by the emissions scandal which has engulfed Volkswagen as Bentley does not produce vehicles fitted with diesel engines.
Mail On Sunday