Is the Flying B marque getting ready to go anti-ballistic? The decision could open lucrative new markets to Crewe's finest.
Armored cars are big business, particularly in lucrative markets like Russia, the Middle East and Latin America, where the wealthy face the scourge of armed robbery. Several aftermarket firms can convert existing cars into armored vehicles, but the best ones are so outfitted directly from the factory. Now Bentley is considering joining their ranks. The word comes from Bentley CFO Jan-Henrik Lafrentz, who revealed to The Guardian that the company was looking into the possibility.
Reinforcing a car for ballistic protection requires essentially taking the car apart and installing steel paneling, sheets of Kevlar, ceramic plates, shatter-proof glass and other materials. That Bentley crafts its cars - particularly the Mulsanne - largely by hand would allow it to get in on the action right on the assembly line with a minimum of fuss. Bentley also wouldn't have to look far to find the expertise, either. Sister company Audi offers armored vehicles. Mercedes-Benz and BMW do as well, but while Jaguar Land Rover offers such services, Rolls-Royce customers looking for that added bit of security have to turn to aftermarket outfitters.
With Maybach and its 62 Guard model out of production, Bentley could have the top of the market all to itself. The Queen of England already has an armored Bentley, after all. Listen really carefully and you can already hear the oligarchs, mobsters, arms dealers and oil barons lining up to put their money down, too.