The famous Belgian firm D’Ieteren, which has a unique and rich history, mainly but not exclusively in the automotive world, looks back at a very good year for its three luxury brands, and adds another one… Rimac.
But let’s start our overview here with Bentley. Your servant has always been very fond of these cars, and vividly remembers a drive in the Mulsanne Bentley from the D’Ieteren headquarters in Brussels to Le Mans, to attend the 24 h race there. This unique experience was further enhanced by the invitation by D’Ieteren to attend the race in the Bentley hospitality room above the Bentley pit stand. Sweet and precious memories…
Your servant was unfortunately medically advised not to attend the press conference at Autoworld in the light of the present pandemic, but thanks to the excellent D’Ieteren PR department, last but not least PR Managers Bernard Van Bellingen and Jean-Marc Ponteville, there is, dear reader, more than enough info material available to present all the news in detail to you.
Bentley took advantage of the sensational Supercar Story exhibit at Autoworld to delight fans and enthusiasts of exceptional cars. The Continental GT Speed Cabriolet has been on display since the opening of the show on December 17 last. Over 40 exceptional cars from the history of the automotive industry accompanied the Flying Spur Hybrid at the Autoworld venue. Among these were the Flying Spur V8, the Continental GT Speed Convertible and the Bentley Continental GT3-R. The selection of Bentley models on display showcases the strongest product portfolio in the history of the brand whilst cementing the role of Bentley in automotive history.
But in a surprising move, at the initiative of its headquarters in Crewe, this collection has been joined by two additional models: the Flying Spur Hybrid, which is having its European premiere there, as well as the very first Flying Spur to leave the factory in 2003 with the number 1 stamped on its chassis.
“The Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid that we can admire at Autoworld until January 23, is the model that has traveled 733 kilometers through Iceland with electricity generated from geothermal sources and biofuel. Because, indeed, our engines are already compatible with 100% renewable synthetic fuels ,” said David Favest, Bentley General Manager.
Combined with electricity from natural sources, this biofuel can reduce CO2 emissions from well to wheel by 45%. In electric mode, the Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid can travel 40 kilometers. We will come back with a detailed review of this formidable car.
Towards carbon neutrality
Indeed, “the world’s best luxury sedan”, as Bentley calls it, goes green: the Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid is another step in Bentley’s “Beyond100” strategy. Its goal is to be carbon neutral from start to finish by 2030. On its journey, it will see the entire Bentley range having an electrified drivetrain option by 2024 and the brands first BEV in 2025.
In that respect, the dealership Bentley Brussels is setting a good example with its power supply on solar panels. But that’s not all: in 2021 Bentley Brussels also installed three beehives on its site in Drogenbos.
David Favest explains: “The surrounding site, which is owned by D’Ieteren, is a Natura 2000 site. In this zone we are recolonizing Belgian Black Bees (Apis Mellifera Mellifera), the purest breed of the Belgian bees on the brink of extinction; we aim to have 30,000 bees in three hives over a three-year period.”
We would also like to remind you that last summer Bentley Motors entered into a partnership with The Macallan, the prestigious Scottish producer of Scotch whiskey and alcohol-free thanks. Both companies want to develop a number of experiments together for a more sustainable future.
More sales and more customization
2021 was a remarkably successful year for Bentley with 109 registrations. But with the foreign registrations added, the order book is more representative: together with Lamborghini, a total of 250 vehicles last year. In Belgium, Bentley’s registrations grew by 9%, orders even by 70%!
In the total luxury market (more than 450 hp), Bentley and Lamborghini have a market share of 22.2%, while the D’Ieteren group (Porsche, Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini) even approaches a share of almost 45%!
“Last year we also observed a strong evolution in spending on bespoke customization,” continues David Favest. “The Bentley customer currently spends an average of €42,000, excluding taxes, on the Mulliner program. That’s almost €20,000 more than before.”
Covid safe #One2OneXperience increases customer satisfaction
The health crisis has led us to create new services for our customers, such as the #One2OneXperience. This allows them to configure their car from home in a paperless manner. This experience is only available in the company of a vendor who provides remote access to the world’s most powerful configurators, storing more than 1.7 million images per model in ultra-high resolution. “To develop this service, we upgraded our entire IT system with twice the bandwidth for Teams. This increases the degree of personalization by 10 billion possible combinations,” explains David Favest.
If the customer wishes to complete the configuration at the dealer, we offer him or her a private appointment, with a prepared test vehicle also available. The dealerships of Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti Brussels are currently only open by appointment.
The #One2OneXperience service also includes after-sales service. This makes it possible to collect or deliver a vehicle for maintenance where the customer wishes, either via closed transport or with a driver.
These new services, launched during the health crisis to limit contacts, have increased the satisfaction rate to over 90%!
Of course, news will follow about Lamborghini, Bugatti and a new fully electric supercar brand: Rimac.
Hans Knol ten Bensel