CREWE, England — Since launching the Bentayga in 2016, Bentley Motors has added variants of the SUV — a high-performance version and a hybrid — but has not changed the model's basic size or shape.
But that could be changing as the Volkswagen Group brand faces more competition in the fledgling space for ultraluxury and exotic SUVs.
Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark, during a roundtable at the brand's headquarters here, hinted at what shape a second SUV might take.
"I could imagine a bigger one, I could imagine a smaller one, I could imagine a coupe-type one and I could definitely imagine battery electric, but only battery electric when you get past that '25 to '30 period," Hallmark said, citing the need for battery technology to advance further before being slotted in a Bentley SUV.
The Bentayga was the first modern ultraluxury SUV and has been a huge success, accounting for 45 percent of Bentley's global sales, Hallmark noted. Bentley sold 11,006 vehicles globally in 2019. A coupe-styled Bentayga was nixed when Volkswagen Group was forced to cut product programs after diesel-emissions violations and fines.
Hallmark said 2019 was the Bentayga's best sales year to date and credits the growth to one factor: The market for ultraluxury SUVs is still in its infancy and far from mature. The Lamborghini Urus and Rolls-Royce Cullinan joined the fray in 2018, while the Aston Martin DBX and Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 make showroom debuts this year. The Ferrari Purosangue is set to arrive in 2022.
With a length of 202.4 inches and a wheelbase of 117.9 inches, the Bentayga is by no means small. But the GLS 600, with a length of 204.9 inches and wheelbase of 123.4 inches, as well as the Cullinan, with a length of 210 inches and a wheelbase of 130 inches, are larger than the Bentayga, which leaves an opportunity for Bentley.
"We'd love to make an even more luxurious, even bigger Bentayga," Hallmark said. "Watch this space."