Luxury car maker Bentley Motors is regarded as a British automobile icon especially owing to its association with British royal family. Despite the takeover by Germany's Volkswagen AG, the brutish Bentley's production of cars are limited to the factory in Crewe, England. However, it looks like Brexit may result in extricating Bentley from its roots.
Bentley is preparing to make its next major investment decision on a new model around the start of next year and it requires seamless access to Europe to go ahead with the plan, Wolfgang Duerheimer, Chief Executive of Bentley Motors told Reuters. "Tariff-free access to the continent for goods and visa-free travel for its staff is key," he added.
Bentley Motors gets over 20 percent of sales from Europe, which is expected to become its largest market this year. "I have about nine to 12 months where I can wait and see what's going to happen and then I need to take serious decisions. It's all connected to future models," Duerheimer, said during an interview at the 87th Geneva motor show.
Duerheimer also said that there are no plans to move production from Britain at present but it is a possibility in the worst case scenario. "It's the Britishness that makes us very unique, but we know from different car brands that this business is a very international one and before we would not produce any Bentleys anymore, we would produce them somewhere else," he said.
Britain is set to leave from the European Union (EU) and carmakers have become increasingly concerned about potential trade barriers and hike in fees over the borders. British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon by the end of the month, allowing the UK to leave the EU after two years of negotiations.
Previously a small number of Bentley Continental Flying Spurs were assembled at the factory in Dresden, Germany, for a brief period when there was insufficient capacity at Crewe.