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In 2019, Bentley Motors celebrates its centenary. The luxury automobile maker’s milestone will be marked with a number of special surprises, focusing on their main motivation—the customer. A stylish, comfortable interior and ease of driving have always been at the core of what Bentley does. When W. O. Bentley, an engineer, founded it in 1919, the goal was to create “a fast car, a good car, best in its class.” That mission has not changed. Making the client more at the crux of what happens next is the aim for the next 100 years.
Each car is made in England in the Crewe factory. Drivers can further customize their cars by working with Mulliner, Bentley’s longstanding commissioning service. For the centenary, each car purchased in 2019 comes with a special customizable package. To learn more about this, a new-limited edition Mulsanne, and what’s planned for the century ahead, Whitewall spoke with the marketing director at Bentley Motors, Christophe Georges.
WHITEWALL: In 1919, W. O. Bentley set out to build “a fast car, a good car, best in its class.” Would you say that is still at the heart of Bentley’s mission?
CHRISTOPHE GEORGES: It’s still our focus today, and something we continue to achieve. If you look at our lineup, we have clearly created the benchmark for luxury. We consistently crafted extraordinary cars for our extraordinary customers. Our customer collaboration has been very key in our history. This is what we continue to do today.
WW: What does it mean for an automobile company today to celebrate 100 years?
CG: It is an achievement, and we look forward to celebrating with our employees and customers. A lot of companies can reach 100 years if you don’t go bust, but today we are leading the luxury market. Bentley is one of the strongest luxury car brands. That is rare. We have never compromised on our core values. It’s an inspiration for us and for the next centenary to come.
This company has been developed by a lot of passionate people throughout history, and we have a huge responsibility to continue that.
WW: Every Bentley is made in Crewe, in North England. Why is it important that every car is British-made?
CG: Provenance of the car is important to our owners and customers. And Crewe is really more than a factory—it’s a sanctuary where we religiously craft every Bentley. What is even more important is, really, the people. Through the years, we have developed unique skills and expertise to craft cars in a special way. I would encourage you to come to Crewe, and then you can really understand the value of our craftsmen, our people.
WW: Can you tell us about Bentley’s longstanding relationship with the commissioning service team at Mulliner?
CG: Mulliner has been responsible for creating some of the most beautiful Bentleys on the road today. They offer the opportunity to our consumer to create a totally unique Bentley.
WW: To celebrate the centenary, Mulliner created the Mulsanne W. O. Edition by Mulliner—with a limited run of just 100. Each interior features a piece of Bentley’s 8 Litre crankshaft. What does that original crankshaft represent?
CG: We wanted to create this limited-edition model for the centenary, not just with inspiration, but with an actual piece in the car. This Bentley 8 Litre crankshaft was W. O. Bentley’s final creation. It’s an original piece that we sliced in order for each car to have a piece. It brings a memorable value to the car.
WW: How would you describe the grand touring spirit that is so special to Bentley?
CG: It’s a question of spirit of adventure, exploration, and being able to travel in a manner that is effortless, while being cocooned inside the beautiful interior of the car. It’s a picture of acceleration and relaxation. For us, this is the unique attribute of a real grand tour—traveling a long distance in perfect comfort. We want to continue to define grand touring in the future.
WW: Every car built in 2019 offers a package of handcrafted features. Do you have a personal favorite among those features?
CG: It’s difficult to pick one, but the logo is special. It will be a piece that will always be a reference point for what we did in this particular year. I would myself pick the logo.
WW: Such a major anniversary provides a chance to look back and forward. Where does Bentley hope to be in the next 100 years?
CG: Of course, we have to take challenges into consideration in terms of global warming and sustainability. The world is changing, and we need to lead in terms of innovation, but innovation that makes sense to our customers.
What is very important is the way we work and interact with our customers. We have launched a Bentley application where only our customers can register to communicate among themselves and with us. We collaborate with our customers and want to understand what the next step will be to match their aspirations and emotions. It’s absolutely essential for our success in the future.