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Brits go solo on Bentley W12 build

2014-03-20 10:43

GOOD NEWS: British automaker Bentley will build all VW's mega W12 engines from 2015. Image: AFP

LONDON, England - Bentley Motors will make all Volkswagen's supercar W12 engines from the end of 2014, creating about 100 jobs for its central England factory but ending production in Germany.

Bentley currently makes about 5000 W12 units a year at Crewe, Birmingham. Germany makes a few thousand.

The announcement (March 19) came after Bentley posted a record 2013 profit, driven by demand from the Americas.

Bentley was bought by Volkswagen in 1998 and is known for its racing pedigree. The company expects to assemble 9000 W12 engines by 2017/2018.

'NOT A DISASTER'

The move will lead to Bentley exporting engines for the first time, some to be used in yet unspecified models for VW and its high-end Audi brand.

Bentley chairman and chief executive Wolfgang Schreiber said: "It is not a disaster for Germany. The W12 volume is relatively low."

Bentley posted a 67% jump in 2013 operating profit, equivalent to R2.5-billion.

HIGH DEMAND

The brand previously said turnover climbed 15%, boosted by a new generation of the Flying Spur rolled out in 2013 and a convertible version of the Continental GT Speed coupe, introduced in late 2012.

Demand from the Americas outweighed shrinking deliveries in China, where luxury brands have been suffering from slowing economic growth and a clampdown on conspicuous consumption.

Bentley sold 10 120 ultra-luxury saloons, coupes and convertibles in 2013, 19% more than in 2012 and beating a previous high set in 2007.

Sales were up 13% to 1408 in the first two months of 2014 and the brand said it hoped to enter new markets, including Morocco, Iraq, Vietnam and Chile, to take its number of dealer from 193 to about 220.
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