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Bentley Nearly Suffered A Catastrophic Emissions Test Failure?

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Is this the reason why the Bentayga plug-in hybrid is delayed?

For automakers like Bentley who are normally used to powering cars with extremely powerful and not particularly fuel-efficient engines, the changes the auto industry is currently undergoing regarding new emissions rules can be quite a challenge. The failure of not meeting these new emissions standards means you're out of business. Simple as that. Obviously this was not an option, so Bentley, and others, acted accordingly. But according to Automotive News Europe, Bentley was too slow to prep its cars to meet Europe's strict new Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) program, and the resulting problems were "close to catastrophic," according to CEO Adrian Hallmark.

What happened, exactly? Turns out that Bentley's future vehicles got "stuck in the queue" for WLTP testing. This new set of emissions regulations took effect September 1. "We were not quick enough unfortunately to book capacity or prioritize our derivatives within some of the group processes to get them certified on time," Hallmark admitted.

That means several model launches have been delayed, including the Bentayga plug-in hybrid. It will now go on sale in March 2019 and the delay, says Hallmark, impacted overall Bentayga sales by 300-400 models. The new Continental GT coupe was also delayed to market for the same reason, and combined with exchange rate problems, contributed to the carmaker's financial loss so far this year.

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Turns out many of the parts used in Bentleys are sourced from continental Europe. They are now more expensive because of the pound weakening against the Euro. Fortunately, Hallmark is confident things are now under control, and it's even possible Bentley will post a fourth-quarter profit. Hallmark, who only joined Bentley half a year ago from Jaguar Land Rover, is also confident 2019 will be a profitable year. "This year is a conversion year to a better business model and next year you will start to see significant growth and a return to normality in terms of profit," he said.