Bentley plots flagship SUV to replace Mulsanne
09. April 2020 - autocar
CEO Adrian Hallmark sees 'gaps' within 'the SUV space', including for Bentayga derivatives
Bentley is set to replace its ageing Mulsanne saloon flagship with a new range-topping SUV, CEO Adrian Hallmark has hinted.
The new model could potentially sit at the top of an extended range of SUVs complementing the Bentayga, which has already transformed the firm's sales volumes and accounted for 47% of Bentleys sold in 2019.
"Our ambition is to fill the Mulsanne price space," said Hallmark. "It will not be a sports car, because we will not build sports cars. The clear indication is that luxury car buyers see SUVs as being far more attractive, and that is where we see the potential. I can definitely see gaps for more derivatives of Bentayga and other opportunities within the SUV space."
Hallmark admitted that slipping sales meant there was no rational case for engineering a new saloon in the vein of the current Mulsanne.
"In the good old days, 20 years ago, when the Arnage was on the road with the Silver Seraph, the global four-door sales were about 1500 to 2000 a year combined," he said. "Now they are less than 1000, and we're more than 50% of that.
"The cost of developing those cars with the technology and requirements for emissions and crash means they are no less expensive to develop than a car you can sell 5000 of," he said. "If we only see potential for 400 to 600 a year, it makes the business case extremely tough."