Bentley has today received confirmation of a conditional grant allocation of £3 million from the Department for Business Regional Growth Fund (RGF).
This is the second time this year Bentley has been successful with the Government’s RGF, having received £1.68m in the first round to create additional manufacturing jobs and training. The new grant funding will help support the development of a new power-train application which will enable Bentley to exploit new export markets.
It will safeguard over 200 jobs and also create a small number of additional positions within the Company’s 900-strong engineering department.
Bentley is one of a handful of automotive companies to undertake all its activities on one site. From design and engineering to production, sales and customer service, all functions are located at the Company’s historic Crewe site in Cheshire. The third biggest investor in R&D of all the automotive companies operating in the UK, Bentley is also in the top 20 of all companies investing in R&D in the UK.
Speaking about the grant, Bentley Chairman and Chief Executive, Wolfgang Dürheimer, said:
"This is a real boost for Bentley which has one of the most highly skilled automotive workforces in the country and, uniquely, has now been awarded two RGF grants. It shows that the Government recognizes the importance of Bentley and the contribution we make to high value manufacturing and UK exports.
“Our customers expect the very best in terms of exclusivity, technology, quality and engineering excellence which requires significant ongoing investment in R&D. This is why we retain such a strong engineering capability exclusively for Bentley here in the UK. This grant will help safeguard those operations as we look to develop new power-trains which appeal to new markets and new customers.”
Bentley exports over 80 per cent of its production and, despite the economic uncertainties, recent investment in new models is already paying dividends as growth continues in all major markets. Traditional markets such as the US and Europe are up by around a third but new markets such as China continue to break records. By the end of September, Bentley sales in China had exceeded 1000 units for the first time as the country cements its position as the second biggest global market for Bentley and one that is increasing by over 80% a year.
The RGF grant will help Bentley develop new power-trains for future markets. Traditionally drawn towards four-door models such as the Mulsanne and the Continental Flying Spur, customers in emerging markets such as China are increasingly showing interest in the new two-door Continental GT and GTC. Although this is delivering significant sales growth, for that to continue – and the long term future of the Company be assured – Bentley has to look at new power-trains which anticipate changing demand.
This research and development will take place at the Bentley’s Crewe plant, and the Company plans to increase its graduate and apprentice intake next year in anticipation of continuing global growth.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said:
“We need to be doing all we can to enable businesses and organizations to create much needed jobs and inject private investment into the economy. We have announced today that a further 162 projects will benefit from the fund, and expect to deliver a huge number of jobs across their businesses and in the supply chain.
“This is a very significant boost to local communities, and the Regional Growth Fund will help businesses like Bentley drive local growth.”