Bentley is switching motherships and the change is designed to smooth out the century-old British brand's electrification drive.
The ultra-prestige marque famous for racing, powerful motors and grand tourers will benefit more from being controlled by Audi than by Porsche because Audi better fits its focus on luxury, Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark said.
Volkswagen Group, which owns all three brands, is transferring oversight of Bentley to Audi from Porsche on March 1. The change will "allow for synergies to be achieved as part of the electrification strategy of the two premium brands," VW said.
"We will have much more synergies with Audi in five to 10 years' time than with Porsche because Porsche is sportier and we are more on the luxury side than the performance side," Hallmark said.
Bentley is expected to move the bulk of its lineup to VW Group's PPE premium electric architecture, whose development Audi is leading. Last month Bentley said it would drop internal combustion engines from its cars and SUVs by 2030 and switch its entire model range to full-electric vehicles.
Bentley's first full-electric vehicle is due in 2025. It will use the same platform as a new flagship electric car for the Audi, Porsche and Bentley brands code-named Landjet that is being developed under Audi's Artemis project.
Hallmark said VW Group had not decided whether Audi's oversight of Bentley will follow the same nonbinding governance role used by Porsche or whether Audi will take a share in Bentley. "That is not yet determined," he said. "But we see this as an opportunity, not a risk."
Bentley's new relationship with Audi will mark a change in the way it uses VW Group platforms. Currently, Bentley uses the Porsche-engineered MSB platform for the Continental GT coupe and convertible and Flying Spur sedan, and the Audi-developed MLB platform for the Bentayga SUV.