Life of luxury in the fast lane

Bentley Vision

Luxury car maker Bentley has a long-term vision to deliver a world-leading advanced manufacturing operation to Cheshire.

The manufacturing sector is a driving force of the Cheshire and Warrington economy and the importance of Bentley to the area cannot be underestimated.

Bentley is Crewe’s largest single employer, with a 4,000-strong workforce and its headquarters there already accounts for more than £1bn of UK exports annually.

It a true UK motor manufacturing success story. Bentley is the largest luxury car brand in China. Globally it sold more than 11,000 cars in 2016 – a record high. They were all made in Crewe.

A Bentley masterplan for its headquarters in the town, which has the backing of Cheshire East Council, is wide-ranging in its ambition.

The aim is to “seamlessly integrate Bentley’s traditional manufacturing operations with its innovative design, engineering, research and development, and business sectors”.

The idea would be to create a “campus” environment on the site.

Matthew Reed, Bentley’s corporate communications manager, says: “It is a long-term vision for what our factory could look like in the future, based on successfully achieving all of our business objectives over the coming years.”

“It is vital that we plan for the long-term future of our business as we look to evolve our headquarters into industry-leading facilities within a single site.”

In March this year BCW Manufacturing Group announced the construction of new hi-tech facilities to accommodate the firm’s huge growth within the automotive sector.

The third and fourth phase of its expansion plan for its Burnley plant includes the creation of a dedicated state-of-the-art automotive machining facility. And it adds to the company’s recent investments which total more than £1m.

Managing director Alec Cassie says that expansion is being driven by substantial new automotive orders, secured against stiff global competition.

And it is set to lead to the creation of up to 50 new jobs over the next three years, including apprentices.

He says: “We opened our Phase II facility in 2015 to accommodate our growing order book for the manufacture of aircraft parts and treatments facility, and the commission to build the third and fourth facilities will service our further expansion in the automotive manufacturing sector.”

The latest expansion will be home to BCW’s automotive extrusion machining and automated assembly, allowing the business to expand its capacity to meet the expected growth for lightweight aluminium chassis.

BCW says the expansion is being driven by the growth of hybrid and the electrification of modern vehicles.