UK car manufacturer Bentley came out on top yesterday after receiving a large wedge of the £950 million Regional Growth Fund (RGF).
Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg announced the 119 successful bids for the second round of the fund, with Bentley receiving £3 million.
This is the second time that they have been successful, having received £1.68 million in the first round, which was designated to create more manufacturing jobs and training.
Bentley chairman and chief executive, Wolfgang Dürheimer, said: “This is a real boost for Bentley which has one of the most highly skilled automotive workforces in the country and, uniquely, has now been awarded two RGF grants. It shows that the Government recognises the importance of Bentley and the contribution we make to high value manufacturing and UK exports.”
The new grant will be used for the development of a new powertrain application which will enable Bentley to exploit new export markets. Further to this it will safeguard over 200 jobs and create a small number of additional positions.
Customers in emerging markets such as China are increasingly showing interest in the new two-door Continental GT and GTC in preference to the previously popular four-door models, such as the Mulsanne and the Continental Flying Spur. This is delivering significant sales growth, but for that to continue and the long term future of the Company to be assured, Bentley has to look at new powertrains which anticipate changing demand.
Mr Dürheimer added; “Our customers expect the very best in terms of exclusivity, technology, quality and engineering excellence which requires significant ongoing investment in R&D. This is why we retain such a strong engineering capability exclusively for Bentley here in the UK. This grant will help safeguard those operations as we look to develop new powertrains which appeal to new markets and new customers.”
The research and development will take place at the Bentley’s Crewe plant, and the company plans to increase its graduate and apprentice intake next year in anticipation of continuing global growth.
Business Secretary Vince Cable commented: “We have announced today that a further 162 projects will benefit from the fund, and expect to deliver a huge number of jobs across their businesses and in the supply chain. This is a very significant boost to local communities, and the Regional Growth Fund will help businesses like Bentley drive local growth.”