Touring Bentley Continental Flying StarEnlarge Photo
Bentley is considering launching a new personalization department that could offer coachbuilding services to its wealthy clients looking for additional exclusivity and luxury. Traditionally, such services have been offered through established coachbuilding firms, most of them based in Italy, but lately the major automakers have been getting in on the action. Some that already offer coachbuilding services include Aston Martin, Ferrari and McLaren.
In its earliest days, Bentley would build chassis for customers that would then hire outside firms to build the bodies, so in a way coachbuilding is part of the British automaker’s heritage. Today, with even emerging markets now saturated with luxury cars, Bentley sees higher levels of personalization as a way to grow profits without increasing sales, something Ferrari has already achieved.
“Go back to the beginnings of our company, we built the chassis and customers put their body of choice on top,” Bentley sales and marketing chief Kevin Rose told Auto Express. “I love that idea, it’s like Haute Couture for a car, I think that’s fascinating to take things a step further and make a car specifically for you.”
Bentley already offers some personalization services through its Mulliner program, however the options here are mostly for varying trim combinations. Coachbuilding is a much more substantial program, which will require significant resources as there are strict regulations involved and these tend to vary between regions.
Rose said a decision on Bentley launching a coachbuilding service is yet to be reached. Of course, there are several reputable firms that will already build you a coachbuilt Bentley... if your pockets are deep enough. Featured above is the Bentley Continental Flying Star built by Italian coachbuilder Carrozeria Touring Superleggera. It features a shooting brake design commissioned by a customer back in 2008, and made its debut at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show.