With 1.5 million vehicles, the crossover market is one of the largest vehicle segments in the automotive industry. This is a high stakes market, but the profits are low, much like the family sedan market. Meanwhile, the luxury SUV market is a much smaller segment, but carries much higher sticker prices. Analysts call them “profit centers.” The average Joe calls them “cash cows.” British automaker Bentley is looking to finally cash in with its own cow.
Like Land Rover and many others that followed, Bentley has released the first teaser image of a production version of its new SUV, and something is missing. But in the best way possible.
The first image of a Bentley SUV came in the form of the EXP-9 concept (above). It was a polarizing design that drew criticism for its “cartoonishly” large headlights and fog lights. Those lighting elements seem have not made their way to the production version of the yet-unnamed Bentley SUV, which is a good thing.
Bentley would have sold a solid amount of its SUV with the large headlights, but will have a better chance of meeting the targeted sales of 3,000 SUVs annually with this new design. We can already tell that it will have a more curved front clip, with headlights more akin to the Bentley Continental GT (above), unlike the EXP-9 F’s Muslanne-esque front fascia.
The production version of this new Bentley SUV is expected to arrive for the 2016 model year. The timing of the teaser shot could suggest a debut of some kind at the 2014 New York International Auto, less than a month away. Since were still some time off from the 2016 model year, a newer version of the EXP-9 could show up at NYIAS, with a production version slated for the following year NY show.
We’ll know for sure when we report live from the NY auto show press days, April 16 and 17, 2014.