Bentley has announced it plans to cut its workforce by 1,000 – almost a quarter – as its Beyond100 plan aims to restore profitability, just as Bentayga sales hit 20,000.
When Bentley finally got round to delivering an SUV with production of the Bentley Bentayga starting in late 2015, the hope was that the Bentayga would do for Bentley what the Cayenne did for Porsche by delivering a ‘Cash Cow’ to allow the rest of the Bentley range to flourish.
In the intervening four years, Bentley has announced it has managed to flog 20,000 Bentaygas, but, sadly, it hasn’t had quite the impact on Bentley sales hoped for.
In fact, Bentley’s sales have hovered around the 10k a year level for years, and despite the Bentayga arriving as a new model range that hasn’t changed. So we must assume that, at least in part, Bentley has simply managed to turn buyers who would have bought a Bentley anyway in to Bentayga buyers, plus it’s lost sales across the rest of the range in other ways too. Which clearly wasn’t the plan.
Now, to add to Bentley’s struggles, it’s been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic – after managing to turn a big hole in finances in 2018 in to a profit in 2019 – and has lost seven weeks of production at a cost of more than £150 million.
So Bentley has a new plan – Beyond100 (because Bentley has just passed its centenary) – which will mean hybrid versions of every Bentley in the next few years and an electric Bentley by 2025, as well as making the business carbon neutral and financially independent. And that means job losses too.
Bentley is asking its 4,200 staff to consider a voluntary release package in the hope of finding at least 1,000 takers. But if it doesn’t, then compulsory redundancies are a possibility.
Let’s hope the plan has legs.