Bentley Pauses Production

It’s March 2020 and the World is in the grip of a Coronavirus Pandemic.

The highly infectious virus, seemingly originating in a open food market in China, has spread rapidly across the globe and has been taking many people out of routine action while claiming a significant number of lives. The pneumonia-like symptoms, starting with a dry cough and fever then escalating to breathing difficulties, are affecting different groups of people in different ways, the younger and healthier population seem to be the most resilient in terms of being affected by the bug, while healthy adults who contract it seem to be recovering well after a couple of weeks of very sore lungs and breathlessness.

The most vulnerable are those with underlying health problems, particularly immune deficiencies or respiratory issues, and the elderly. A large proportion of the deaths attributed to the disease, have been among the older generation.

In the UK, The Government has taken a gradual approach to tightening controls, but in mid-March called for as many non-essential staff to work from home, or take time off. The resulting self-isolation of huge swathes of the British public and the importance of stopping the virus, has brought much of the country’s industry to a stand still.

Bentley Motors has announced that it will be pausing car production to protect the workforce, many of whom are already either working remotley, or at a safe distance from other colleagues, to minimise the potential to spread the disease. While demand in some markets has declined, as would be expected, Bentley, part of the Volkswagen Group, aims to be back up and running on the 20th April, all being well.

The crisis has affected many car makers, not least with the cancellation of the Geneva Motor Show at the start of March, the first major event that signalled the seriousness of the disruption which was to follow.

Adrian Hallmark, Chairman and CEO of Bentley Motors, said: “The well-being of our colleagues is our number one priority and although this was a difficult decision to take, and doesn’t change our strategic direction, it was necessary to protect them as best we can during these unprecedented times. This will inevitably have an impact on our deliveries to customers, and we apologise for the inconvenience this causes, however we are working hard to minimize this disruption. Our thoughts continue to go out to all those affected around the world throughout this very sad and difficult time for so many people.”

We, at Skinidin House Media, would like to echo Mr. Hallmark’s sentiments and wish everyone affected by the disruption, including all those at Bentley Motors, a safe period of isolation and that through it all, new and positive ways of working can develop from the enforced break in operations.

Stay safe. Wash hands often. Learn something new and Innovate.

Bentley Mulliner Bacalar Revealed

Bentley has revealed the Bacalar developed by the company’s bespoke Mulliner division.

Taking cues from the extraordinary EXP100 GT concept revealed last year, the Bacalar comes at a time when Bentley is reshaping its line-up to focus more on its driver-centric cars.

The car’s unveiling had been due to take place at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show, which has been cancelled at very short notice due to ongoing concerns relating to the spread of Coronavirus.

The new car brings together some of the breathtaking features of 2019’s concept car of the year, and packages it in a Barchetta-style Coachbuilt convertible body that loosely echos the EXP 12 Speed 6e concept, revealed at Geneva in 2017.

Only twelve of these bespoke cars will be built, all pre-ordered and personalised to the customer’s tastes so they can be expected to fetch a tidy premium if they ever re-surface on the pre-owned market.

If you’re wondering about the name, that comes from Laguna Bacalar in Mexico, and further establishes Bentley’s modern-era naming convention started by the Bentayga SUV. It seems the company has broadened its sights from the corners and straights of historic racetracks, and is now picking out extraordinary and exotic landmarks around the world to reflect Bentley’s extraordinary and exotic clientele.

Speaking ahead of the reveal, Bentley boss, Adrian Hallmark spoke of the new suite of services the revised Mulliner Division will be responsible for. Summarised as Classic, Collections, and Coachbuilt, Mulliner will be tasked with bringing back classic models from the brand’s rich heritage, personalising existing models to client requirements, and coach-building one-off and limited edition vehicles.

He went on to say, “Our customers are as excited as we are about Bacalar, as it brings our team and discerning enthusiasts together, to create the finest bespoke, hand-built cars, and push the boundaries of our imagination and capabilities.”

Bentley was once celebrated as the stoic producer of old-fashioned, traditional British cars but the Bacalar is as avant-garde as anything to come out of the fragments of the 2020 Geneva Show. The attention to detail includes a cabin full of ethically-sourced materials, and it is the first new Bentley to emerge from Crewe since the company HQ was declared the world’s first carbon neutral luxury car factory.

With the company’s 6.0-litre W12 engine fitted, this promises to be an exciting car to drive, and is just as exciting to look at, with its roof-less design and muscular stance.

It is no coincidence that Hallmark’s new plan for Bentley is reminiscent of the strategy adopted at JLR during his time in the boardroom there. The Midland’s carmaker introduced the Classic Works and Special Vehicles divisions, offering a similar suite of services to the revived Mulliner division at Bentley – albeit a bit lower down the food-chain. In a Sunday Times interview, Hallmark described his time at the Midlands car-maker as the “perfect training” for running Bentley. We suspect his approach is far more suited to Bentley in many ways where customers have long-expected the level of customisation that Mulliner has now been given the freedom to of deliver.