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Beefy Bentley SUV to create 1,000 jobs

British luxury marque, Bentley Motors has announced that its new model, the company's first ever SUV, is to be built in its British factory in Crewe, meaning an investment of around £800 million by the firm. The company are calling the new car 'the most luxurious and powerful SUV on the market' and the move will create more than 1,000 new British jobs.

British luxury marque, Bentley Motors has announced that its new model, the company's first ever SUV, is to be built in its British factory in Crewe, meaning an investment of around £800 million by the firm. The company are calling the new car 'the most luxurious and powerful SUV on the market' and the move will create more than 1,000 new British jobs. The car is set to go on sale in 2016. The German owned company follows Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) into the lucrative and growing SUV market. Chairman of Bentley's owners, Volkswagen, Martin Winterkorn, commented that the £800 million investment would be made over three years and reflected the UK's position as a competitive country in which to build cars.

Bentley's decision to move into the high-end SUV market comes on the back of announcements from JLR, BMW and McLaren that they are to invest more in UK production. This is a remarkable transformation of an industry that was not so long ago on its knees and is further acknowledgement of the UK's position as a leading car manufacturer. This transformation in fortunes has been driven by a move away from cheaper, high volume cars towards more luxurious models.

Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the news on a visit to Bentley's Crewe factory on Tuesday 23rd July, commenting: "One sector that we know is sprinting ahead in the global race is our booming automotive industry. I am delighted that Bentley will be building their new vehicle here, not only creating a thousand jobs, but safeguarding many more." The new car is said to be capable of speeds in excess of 180mph and will be priced at the top end of the market, at around £150,000. If previous Bentley sales distributions are continued, the model will also contribute to Britain's exports, as 80% of the Crewe company's cars are sold overseas, amounting to some £1 billion in export revenue.

While increasing UK car production continues to buck the trend of the decline seen across the EU, the SUV sector likewise contrasts the declining sales in other niches. They have now become one of the luxury car makers' most profitable market segments, with high-end manufacturers like Porsche quick to take advantage. Clearly there is danger in brand dilution but this seems to be more than offset by strong sales figures. Porsche's Cayenne, for example was the company's first SUV and since its launch in 2002 has gone on to be by far Porsche's best-selling model, accounting for more than 50% of total sales.
 

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