The latest Bentley luxury sedan, the Mulsanne Speed, will go 190 mph, but getting to that speed takes a long, long time, according to Wolfgang Dürheimer, chairman and CEO of Bentley Motors. It takes a worker at the Crewe, U.K., factory five hours to make 620 stitches to the leather on the steering wheel, and another 400 or so hours to build an entire Mulsanne Speed. “We make the world’s most desirable luxury cars,” said Dürheimer, at the Mulsanne Speed’s introduction at the Detroit auto show Monday. “Customers appreciate bespoke and they don’t want to compromise.” The least expensive Bentley is the Continental, at just more than $200,000.
Sales for Bentleys totaled just more than 11,000 in 2014, a record volume spread among slightly more than 200 dealers worldwide. The most Bentleys were sold in the U.S. — 3186 — followed by China at 2670 and then Germany, the U.K. and the Middle East.
Bentley hopes to increase sales with the addition of a fourth body style, added to the four-door, two-door, and convertible styles — an SUV. “It takes modern British luxury to new levels and limitless destinations,” said Dürheimer. “Not many customers will need (off-road capability) but our SUV will be capable.” The name for the new SUV was announced Monday as Bentayga, which is a combination of three things: Company founder W. O. Bentley, the world’s largest snow forest Taiga, and the tropical Grand Canary rock formation called Bentayga. The Bentayga is expected to go on sale in 2016.