Bentley Considering Luxury SUV: Report Photo:
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Mike Stevens | Jul, 27 2011 | 0 Comments

The Volkswagen group is pushing to become the world's number-one carmaker by 2018. That once far-off deadline is now not so distant, and the squeeze is on for the company's numerous marques to add new models and increase sales.

That push has led to frequent reports of new Audi and Porsche models, including entry-level sports offerings and niche-hunting convertible SUVs.

On the other side of the pond, Bentley has largely escaped the rumour mill, with the British brand playing its part as a maker of ultra-exclusive, ultra-expensive and (for the most part) ultra-traditionalofferings. Until now.

This week, reports out of Europe suggest Bentley may add a large SUV to its line-up - both to satisfy customer demand, and to do its bit in Volkswagen's march on the top spot.

In today's automotive landscape, the idea of a Bentley SUV is far from far-fetched. Go back 15 years, and the suggestion of a Porsche SUV would have appeared in the same paragraph as flying pigs and scarves in hell.

More, the Cayenne has been one of Porsche's (and Volkswagen's) greatest success stories. One of five bodystyles in the company's line-up, the Cayenne now makes up half of its overall sales.

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The popularity of the SUV market is not lost on the wider Volkswagen group: Porsche will soon launch the smaller Cajun SUV, and Audi has added the new entry-level Q3 to its high-riding range. A fourth, coupe-like SUV is also rumoured to be in Audi's future.

For Bentley, then, a new SUV is nearly a no-brainer. The platform already exists, with the Cayenne, Audi Q7 and Volkswagen Touareg all sharing versions of the same architecture.

The profit margin on luxury SUVs is high, and in Bentley's three biggest markets - China, the US and the UK - so is the demand.

Perhaps the most obvious sign that Bentley could launch an SUV is that the brand's CEO, Wolfgang Duerheimer, is the man behind the development of the Cayenne.

Bentley is not the only premium brand in the Volkswagen empire that is reportedly considering an SUV: Even Lamborghini is rumoured to be exploring the possibility of a big people-moving wagon based on the Touareg platform.

There's been no official word from either brand on plans for an SUV however, and for now, only time will tell.

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