The VW Group is making some big changes.
The Volkswagen Group is continuing to make major internal changes. German language Automobilwoche trade publication has learned the VW Group is planning to make Bentley a subsidiary of Audi. At present, British-based Bentley is directly controlled by Volkswagen. Placing Bentley under Audi's direct control is not without precedent. Ever since Lamborghini was purchased by VW back in 1998 it has been under the control of the Audi division.
So why change Bentley's status right now? There are a few potential reasons. For one, Audi is the VW Group's leading technology brand, specifically when it comes to electric vehicle platforms and related systems development. Case in point: Project Artemis.
The brainchild of Audi's new CEO, Markus Duesmann, Artemis's main focus is to speed up the development of a new electric "highly automated" vehicle that could arrive as soon as 2024. VW Group management understood they were falling way behind Tesla in numerous areas, among them vehicle-to-vehicle communication. Bentley would directly benefit from Audi's future advancements faster than it would in its current status.
But there are two other concerns regarding Bentley: the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit. Despite an impressive financial turnaround not long ago, Bentley's latest challenges need to be addressed immediately, otherwise, any sales gains recently made could be lost.
Think of it like this: in the not too distant future, the Bentley Bentayga will need to be completely redesigned and, chances are, that successor will offer an all-electric powertrain. Audi already sells fully electrified SUVs, the e-tron and e-tron Sportback, and more EVs are coming very soon.
VW Group CEO Herbert Diess has already gone on record stating the company's board is planning other changes amongst its brands, such as potentially selling Bugatti to Croatia's Rimac and spinning off Lamborghini similar to what FCA very successfully did with Ferrari back in 2014.
We're still waiting for an official statement from VW Group who has so far refused to comment on the report. Stay tuned for additional updates.