Bentley: made in Germany


Foreign-built Bentleys. There’s something about that phrase that simply feels… well, a little odd, isn’t there? After all, Crewe’s the home of the flying B, and ever it were thus – right? Well, no, actually. In 2005 and 2006, a handful of examples of the then-new Bentley Flying Spur rolled off the production line at Volkswagen’s ‘Glaserne Manufaktur’, or Transparent Factory – the glossy Dresden home of the Phaeton production line. With demand high for the Spur, and low for the Phaeton, it seemed like the logical thing to do.

And, given the same circumstances now, it seems VW’s at it again. The recent release of the second-generation Flying Spur has seen high demand from Asia – coincidentally, a market in which the Phaeton is fading fast as Audi’s A8 L, Mercedes’ S-Class, and to a lesser extent, the BMW 7 Series gobble up its market share. So once again, Spurs will soon be flying (sorry) down the production line in Saxony, filling the hole that those shrinking Phaeton sales have left behind.

Fancy Phaeton factory now to build Bentleys
Fancy Phaeton factory now to build Bentleys
And while that might rankle with some patriotic Brits, you can’t fault the business sense in the decision. “The Bentley’s bodies are already produced in Zwickau in Saxony, so the synergy is optimal,” Hans-Joachim Rothenpieler, technical director and CEO of VW Saxony, told the German tabloid Bild.

“Bentley is growing and the build plan for the new Flying Spur shows a significant increase in volume due to the positive costumer response,” a spokesperson told PH. “We have therefore decided to build a limited number of Flying Spurs in the year 2013 from November onwards at Dresden. This decision is to help address aspecific challenge we have on satisfying the market demand for our new Flying Spur.”

The million-euro question, of course, is: will buyers care that their Bentley was actually screwed together in Dresden? Perhaps not. Where a particular model’s built doesn’t seem to be a major concern for most other manufacturers, it has to be said. But then again, we can’t help but wonder whether some customers might baulk at the discovery that their exquisitely-crafted British limo was actually built somewhere across the sea.

[Sources: Bild.de, Bentley]

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (80) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Matt UK 14 Nov 2013

    Hmmmm, I think traditional Brit buyer will care, the new money footballers less so.

    My understanding though is that the USA and China love the idea of British brands and all of the imagery and heritage around hand-built quality that comes with it.
    What would they think if they found out? Would it burst the illusion bubble? Not sure, but if I were VW I'd proceed with caution so as not to kill the golden goose.


  • NotNormal 14 Nov 2013

    This news makes a bit of a mockery of what's being said in the latest Drive videos....

  • GTEYE 14 Nov 2013

    Perhaps it will matter to many on this forum, but I don't think it will harm sales of the product one bit.

    In this increasingly smaller world, it's all about buying in to the "brand" - do people care where its assembled?

    As long as it's built right, probably not...

  • The Spruce goose 14 Nov 2013

    I am sure it will come that bentley crewe will end up making knock down kits, but i do think vag should invest more at crewe to expand if they are doing so well.

    Edited by The Spruce goose on Thursday 14th November 09:51

  • Konrod 14 Nov 2013

    Visiting the Bentley factory a few years ago, lots of the parts had Audi 4 rings on them, so where it is screwed together is a a moot point really. The Britishness is about the design and tactile materials (wood, leather, chrome). Whether the guy who fitted the dashboard is called Walter or Wolfgang is hardly relevant to the buyer provided it was done properly.

    Different story of course from a UK jobs perspective...........

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