Bentley is extensively prepping for their future with a couple of new paths to higher sales. Just recently, the company has downsized from a W12 to a V8 engine and their next course of action is to offer a plug-in hybrid model. In an interview with Car and Driver, Bentley CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer reported that the hybrid system could be based on Volkswagen technology and that it could combine either a W12 engine or a V8 engine with an electric motor placed between the engine and transmission. This system will allow an electric-only range of 16 to 19 miles - a relatively good range considering we are talking about very heavy vehicles.
Another new direction Bentley is taking, and probably the stranger of the two, is their announced plans to steal customers from Maybach. This bit of news came shortly after Mercedes announced that the last Maybach unit would be produced in early 2013. Bentley hopes that this termination of production will get stars like hip-hop artist Jay-Z, actor Samuel L. Jackson, and King Juan Carlos to turn their attention from the old Maybach models to Bentley’s line-up. We would think that Rolls Royce would be a good candidate as well, but Bentley wouldn’t be a bad way to go either.
"The withdrawal of Maybach is a business opportunity for us and we’re going to use it," Bentley Chief Executive Wolfgang Duerheimer told Reuters. And they aren’t too worried about Mercedes’ decision to offer an S600 Pullman because "they wanted something more exclusive than a Mercedes in the first place, so Rolls or Bentley would seem an obvious substitution."
In this war, Bentley has the advantage of planning a large luxury SUV that will be placed over the top Cayenne and it will be "highly customizable, including a wealth of interior materials and a choice of four- or five-passenger configurations."