At the end of last week, Bentley Motors marked 75 years of car production from its iconic factory in Crewe, England. To mark the occasion, the Mark V stands proudly on display at the famous Pyms Lane factory.
The Crewe factory started operations in 1946, moving car production from Derby where the company focused on its aircraft jet engine operations. The Bentley Mark VI became the first car to be built entirely at Bentley’s Crewe works and the first to be offered with a pressed-steel bodyshell as standard.
Before being fully administered by the Volkswagen Group from 2003, Bentley built a total of 38,933 units in Crewe. Among that were many iconic models of their time, including the Bentley Blower, the R-Type Continental, Mulsanne, Arnage and Azure. Incredibly, records show that 84% of all cars built in Crewe for the UK market are still on the road today.
Over the course of the 75 years, 206 unique models have been handcrafted in Crewe and production accumulated to 197,086 vehicles.
Today, the Crewe facility, UK’s first carbon-neutral car factory, manufactures just three models– the Continental GT, the Flying Spur and the Bentayga. The three models are now built at a record rate of 85 units a day; a month’s output two decades ago before the modernisation and transformation investment made by Volkswagen Group.
Peter Bosch, Bentley’s Member of the Board for Manufacturing, said, “For 75 years Crewe has been synonymous with luxury car manufacturing – a global showcase of craftsmanship and quality. In that time, our colleagues have produced some of the world’s most iconic and desirable products, including cars for global royalty and unique personal commissions.”
The highest volume Bentley model is the Continental GT, representing 80,000 sales and the latest Bentayga SUV has reached the production of 25,000 units. The company says the overwhelming demand of the Bentayga could surpass total sales of the Continental GT within a decade and become the biggest selling Bentley model in history.
Total production of the Flying Spur luxury sports saloon meanwhile stands at 40,000 units since its introduction in 2005. Bentley ended production of the larger Mulsanne flagship limousine after over a decade and 7,300 examples made.
Under the Beyond100 strategy, Bentley aims to be end-to-end carbon neutral by 2030, with the Crewe factory climate positive thereafter.
“With our most recent investment we have transformed our historic factory into a collaborative modern campus; a carbon-neutral, innovative, low environmental impact site that retains the best of our heritage while looking strongly to the future. In many factory areas, modern, digitised production systems complement traditional craftsmanship skills employed on our cars since 1946,” added Bosch.
2030 also marks the introduction of the range of fully electric Bentley vehicles, with the transitional phase beginning from 2026 by offering plug-in hybrids. Background activities have already started, with the planned opening of an Engineering Test Centre and R&D building in the coming weeks.