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Bentley Mulls Expanding Mulsanne Range, SUV Production In Bratislava

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Last summer Bentley revealed a few teaser sketches of a convertible version of its flagship Mulsanne, using these to gauge interest in a production version that would potentially top the automaker’s range.

While Bentley still decides whether to build a convertible Mulsanne or not, the automaker’s new CEO, Wolfgang Schreiber, has revealed his company has even more variants in mind.

Speaking with Autocar, Schreiber said the convertible was "one option for the expansion of the Mulsanne range" and the firm had "two more" concepts it could show. Some have suggested that these could include a coupe and even a shooting brake.

Schreiber went on to reveal that the idea of a convertible Mulsanne was proving favorable with customers, though no decision on production had been made yet.

Part of the reason for the delay, possibly, is that Bentley is still waiting for approval from Volkswagen Group senior management to start building a new SUV based on the EXP 9 F concept unveiled at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.

Speaking at Bentley’s annual press conference earlier this week, Schreiber said a decision on production of the SUV would be made very soon and that the vehicle may not even be built at Bentley’s facilities in Crewe, England.

Instead, the company is considering building the SUV on the same line where its platform stablemates, the Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg, are built, located at Volkswagen’s plant in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Wolfgang Schreiber

Wolfgang Schreiber

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Most of the interior would be assembled in Crewe and then shipped over to the plant in Bratislava where the chassis and body are built. Bentley did something similar with its early Flying Spur models, which were built at Volkswagen’s famous glass factory in Dresden, Germany.

Instead of featuring a 'Made in Crewe, England' plaque, the vehicles would get a ‘Designed in Crewe, England' one.

Of course, this might not sit well with buyers of the SUV, and the current facility in Crewe does have the capacity for another model line, so Bentley is weighing up its options here as well.

Bentley is projecting production numbers of between 3,000 and 4,000 units annually, and has already received more than 2,000 firm orders. If given the green light, the first Bentley SUVs could be on sale by 2016.

Importantly, any production version of Bentley’s EXP 9 F will look considerably different to the concept.
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