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Driving Growth: The New Bentley SUV

24/10/2013
Bentley SUV Bentley's recent announcement of its intention to move into the luxury SUV market was well-received at Fircroft.

The move was backed by further good news; that the model is to be made at Bentley's headquarters in Crewe, in the north-west of England, where it is likely to create 1,000 new jobs. 

Previously, it had been thought more likely that Bentley's German parent company, Volkswagen, would advise that the new Bentley SUV should be built in the Slovak capital Bratislava, where VW makes most of its vehicles.

This is certainly excellent news for the UK's automotive industry, and is a further shot in the arm following the announcement made by Rolls-Royce, owned by the German company BMW, that they also intend to increase investment in the UK automotive sector following a marked upturn in sales figures.

So why is this good news for Fircroft and the British automotive recruitment industry and what role will we play?

On the Bandwagon

The Fircroft Automotive team was pleased to see that some of Britain's leading political figures were quick to praise Bentley's decision to keep the manufacture of the new SUV in the UK. Prime Minister David Cameron was present with Dr Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Volkswagen, for the announcement and marked Bentley and VW's decision as "another important milestone in strengthening our economy." Business Secretary Vince Cable said that that Bentley's move "proves this government's commitment to working with world-class companies like Bentley to create jobs and promote exports."

Exquisite Design

Assurances have been made by Bentley that the brand's expected standards of quality, craftsmanship and performance will all be met with the new design. Bentley spent 15 months obtaining customer views over the concept of Bentley launching themselves into the luxury SUV market and the results of the research yielded an extremely positive overall attitude towards the idea. Such customers will have be patient though, as Bentley's SUV will not be available to purchase until 2016.

Whilst the vehicle won’t make its way into showrooms until 2016, Fircroft’s role began a lot earlier. Below I have attempted to answer some of the questions we have recently been asked about the project.

Where will the newly created roles be based?

It is estimated that the SUV will create approximately 1000 UK-based jobs. However, not all of these will be based in Crewe where we already provide contractors, since that figure refers to the full supply chain at each end, i.e. dealerships, aftersales, servicing care and suppliers. But this is excellent news for the job market UK-wide.

When will Fircroft be recruiting for this?

Fircroft has been supplying Design and Development Engineers for this project for the last three years. Now that it has moved to the stage of being signed-off into production, it is likely that our focus will move towards recruiting Facilities Engineers, Manufacturing Engineers, Project Engineers, Sales & Marketing, Logistics and Quality roles. Bentley will need to scale up its entire infrastructure.

Does Fircroft think this is the start of a trend for automotive recruitment in the UK?

Well it’s more of a continuation than a start. Bentley is a high-profile but relatively low-volume brand; a company that employs around 5000 people directly (contract and permanent) as well as various onsite design consultancies, and sells around 7,500 vehicles a year.

Perhaps a much more significant indicator of the state of the UK market is JLR. Last month the manufacturer sold 27,852 vehicles; the best August sales performance to date with an increase of 28% versus the same period last year. During the first eight months of the year, Jaguar Land Rover sold 269,653 vehicles, up 16%.

They will also add a further 100 staff to their Purchasing function this year. This is the latest in a line of recruitment activities which has seen employee numbers increase by more than 9,000 in the last two years alone across its five advanced manufacturing and engineering sites.

Overall, it is fair to say that the UK Automotive industry in general and the luxury sector in particular, is surging ahead and news like this is certainly welcomed by Fircroft and others involved in the automotive industry.

If you would like a chance to work for one of the UK’s automotive powerhouses on exciting new projects such as the SUV, get in touch with one of our consultants or simply take a look at the latest automotive contract vacancies on the site.

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