In Bentley's vision, the future of luxury mobility involves concierge-style services and global car clubs.
Bentley Motors is doing great these days as the luxury marque delivered a total of 11,023 cars in 2016, up by nine percent compared to 2015. The Crewe-based automaker managed to sell 56 percent more cars in Europe last year, while deliveries in its domestic market rose by 16 percent. 2016 was the company’s fourth consecutive year with sales of over 10,000 cars, and most of them were delivered to export markets since only 15 percent of the vehicles were ordered by U.K. customers.
Looking ahead, Bentley through the voice of its CEO, Wolfgang Dürheimer, previews a major change in luxury mobility. Speaking at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit, the man in charge at Bentley said the following:
“The next 10 years will be transformational for luxury car makers. We will see customer demographics broaden and change dramatically to incorporate milenials; the rising affluent in developing economies; and members of Generation ‘C’ – the connected generation where attitude, rather than age, is the defining characteristic.”
He also anticipates “an entirely different attitude towards vehicle ownership” and a future in which concierge-style services and global car clubs will play a more important role. Bentley is already providing a taste of things to come by running a three-month trial for a fuel-delivery service in collaboration with Filld, a company that provides an app-based fuel delivery service. The pilot program might be extended in the near future, so more and more Bentley owners will avoid the hassle of having to drive their high-end automobiles to fill them up at the gas stations. In the words of Apple, “there’s an app for that” now.
Dürheimer mentioned Bentley’s comprehensive global research has revealed future owners of luxury cars are going to prioritize “highly tradition, heritage and craftsmanship (the story behind the product)” and will want vehicles boasting a “beautiful, high-quality, authentic design.”
As for the interior cabin, the British niche marque promises it will implement the latest technologies to further boost the sense of luxury and premium craftsmanship. One way to do that is by overlaying OLED screens across a door’s wood veneers to provide those inside the lavish cabin with access to the car’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and audio system.
Interestingly, Bentley sees a future in which a global customer network referred to as a “club” is not limited to only a single car. Cadillac already has something along the lines of a premium car-sharing service with its newly introduced monthly subscription service called “Book by Cadillac.” It gives customers the chance to drive an XT5, CT6, Escalade, or a model from V Series for $1,500 per month.
Meanwhile, Bentley has a busy 2017 up ahead seeing as how the all-new Continental GT will be released in the latter part of the year. At the same time, the company is also testing the droptop GTC prior to its 2018 launch and has already announced plans to hybridize all models. Now, if only they would just build the stunning EXP 10 Speed 6 concept…