With that argument, Bentley won approval for the Bentayga, now going on sale. Although the initial Bentayga concept, the EXP 9 F, shocked many observers at the 2012 Geneva show, it is now one of the key models stretching the crossover category beyond past limits.
The explosion in crossovers, so evident in the U.S., is every bit as strong in Europe. Automakers seem intent on filling every niche and subniche of crossover.
For instance, after debuting its T-Cross Breeze, a convertible subcompact cross-over, VW brand chief Herbert Diess said, "We can well imagine putting such a convertible on the market as a production model." VW is expanding its crossover portfolio to five models from two; one addition being a midsize crossover slated for production this year in Chattanooga.
Ford of Europe President Jim Farley vowed to bring five new crossovers and SUVs into the lineup. Karl-Thomas Neumann, CEO of Opel, pledged to add four such vehicles, saying, "If you ask me what is the biggest weakness in the portfolio, it is the lack of SUVs and crossovers."
Elsewhere, Audi, Toyota and Subaru showed subcompact crossovers, and Volvo pledged to bring out a compact crossover within three years. At the high end, Maserati debuted the Levante, priced at 70,000 euros ($76,000).