New Business Secretary Dr Vince Cable MP visited Bentley Motors' Pyms Lane headquarters in Crewe as the company prepares to begin production of the new Bentley Mulsanne. Dr Cable met directors and employees - including some of the Company's apprentices and graduates - and toured Bentley's new Body in White facility, a new multi-million pound production centre constructed exclusively for the new Bentley flagship.
The £25m facility enables Bentley's skilled craftsmen and women to work alongside state of the art robotic technology to produce the bodyshells for the new Bentley Mulsanne. Given the complex shape of the Bentley Mulsanne, new production techniques such as superforming had to be combined with traditional hand brazing and polishing, The new facility allows these techniques to be undertaken side by side before the bodies go on to paint and final assembly.
Conceived, designed and engineered entirely in Crewe, each Bentley Mulsanne takes nearly 500 hours to build with individual elements of the car, like the famous V8 engine, still being hand-assembled.
Doug Dickson, Bentley's Member of the Board for Manufacturing, said: "We were delighted to welcome the Secretary of State to Crewe and are proud that he has chosen Bentley as one of the first companies to visit in his new role. We are greatly encouraged by his comments that the manufacturing sector and companies like Bentley have a key role to play in developing a stronger and more balanced economy.
"The Government must encourage people into the industry through apprenticeships and other schemes as well as committing to increased training of those who already working in it. Above all it must promote it internationally if the UK is to have a strong manufacturing sector and thus a strong economy."
Dr Cable said: "We need to develop a stronger, more balanced economy … by building on the strengths of our manufacturing and other knowledge industries. The UK is open for business and we welcome the investment that is being made here by manufacturing companies, like Bentley, creating highly skilled workforces that will ensure our future growth."
Bentley Motors employs just under 4000 people in Crewe which is home to all its operations including design, R&D, engineering and production. The combination of fine craftsmanship, using skills that have been handed down through generations, alongside engineering expertise and cutting-edge technology is unique to UK luxury vehicle manufacturers such as Bentley, and is an example of high value British manufacturing at its best. Bentley exports over £500m worth of goods every year to established markets like the US, as well as emerging markets such as China and South America.
The Bentley Mulsanne will go on sale across the world shortly (Bentley has now established 150 dealers in over 50 countries) and is already receiving very positive comments from the first media previews. More importantly, it represents a significant investment for the future of the brand, helping safeguard the future of the company in the UK and providing business for a wide range of highly-skilled specialist UK suppliers.Published 21 May 2010