The British luxury marque has been producing automotive art from the city since 1946.
Bentley has been around for a long time. In fact, the British automaker won its first race 100 years ago this month, and while the company still has an eye on performance as evidenced by the Continental GT Speed, it also concentrates on what most people know the brand for: luxury and craftsmanship.
We expect to see more of both characteristics at Pebble Beach this year, but for the moment, Bentley is savoring the moment and celebrating the manufacture of its cars at the Crewe plant. The Bentley Mk. VI was the first car to roll off the line here in 1946, and 75 years later, the marque is building more cars than ever before.
Since the mid-forties, Bentley has produced 206 different models in Crewe and 197,086 cars in total - a whopping 97 percent of Bentley's entire production. That may seem like a tiny number compared to companies like Toyota, but these vehicles are handcrafted and take a long time to produce.
Besides, manufacturing is getting quicker and is now at record levels making 85 cars per day, equaling the monthly totals of two decades ago. Crewe is also significant as the world's only carbon neutral luxury car factory, and efforts to enhance sustainability aren't slowing down as Bentley looks to the next 75 years.
"With our most recent investment we have transformed our historic factory into a collaborative modern campus; a carbon-neutral, innovative, low environmental impact site that retains the best of our heritage while looking strongly to the future," said Peter Bosch, Bentley's member of the board for manufacturing. "In many factory areas, modern, digitized production systems complement traditional craftsmanship skills employed on our cars since 1946."
That's why you'll see things like adaptive suspension, as well as hand-stitched leather on something like a Continental. As the brand looks forward, it aims to move to full electrification by 2026, including hybrids and all-electric vehicles. By 2030, only EVs will be made, but you can be sure that the good people of Crewe will ensure that these are just as beautifully built.