A British manufacturer of automobiles founded on 18 January 1919 by Walter Owen Bentley (known as W.O. Bentley or just "W.O."). Bentley had been previously known for his range of rotary aero-engines in World War I, the most famous being the Bentley BR1 as used in later versions of the Sopwith Camel. Since 1998, the company has been owned by the Volkswagen Group of Germany.
The joining and eventual separation of Bentley and Rolls-Royce followed a series of mergers and acquisitions, beginning with the 1931 purchase by Rolls-Royce of Bentley, then in receivership. In 1971, Rolls-Royce itself was forced into receivership and the UK government nationalized the company—seperating into two companies the aerospace division (Rolls-Royce Plc) and automotive (Rolls-Royce Motors Limited) divisions—the latter retaining the Bentley subdivision. Rolls-Royce Motors was subsequently sold to engineering conglomerate, Vickers and in 1998, Vickers sold Rolls-Royce to Volkswagen AG.
Rolls-Royce took over the assets of Bentley Motors (1919) Ltd and formed a subsidiary, Bentley Motors (1931) Ltd. Rolls-Royce had acquired the Bentley showrooms in Cork Street, the service station at Kingsbury, the complex at Cricklewood and the services of Bentley himself. This last was disputed by Napier in court without success. Bentley had neglected to register their trademark so Rolls-Royce immediately did so. They also sold the Cricklewood factory in 1932. Production stopped for two years, before resuming at the Rolls-Royce works in Derby. Unhappy with his role at Rolls-Royce, when his contract expired at the end of April 1935 W. O. Bentley left to join Lagonda.
The problems of Bentley's owner with Rolls-Royce aero engine development, the RB211, brought about the financial collapse of its business in 1970.
The motorcar division was made a separate business, Rolls-Royce Motors Limited, which remained independent until bought by Vickers plc in August 1980. By the 1970s and early 1980s Bentley sales had fallen badly; at one point less than 5% of combined production carried the Bentley badge. Under Vickers, Bentley set about regaining its high-performance heritage, typified by the 1980 Mulsanne. Bentley's restored sporting image created a renewed interest in the name and Bentley sales as a proportion of output began to rise. By 1986 the Bentley:Rolls-Royce ratio had reached 40:60; by 1991 it achieved parity
In October 1997, Vickers announced that it had decided to sell Rolls-Royce Motors. BMW AG seemed to be a logical purchaser because BMW already supplied engines and other components for Bentley and Rolls-Royce branded cars and because of BMW and Vickers joint efforts in building aircraft engines. BMW made a final offer of £340m, but was outbid by Volkswagen AG, which offered £430m. Volkswagen AG acquired the vehicle designs, model nameplates, production and administrative facilities, the Spirit of Ecstasy and Rolls-Royce grille shape trademarks,
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Crewe Volkswagen Bentleys
Bentley Mulsanne (1980-present)
The Bentley Mulsanne is a handmade full-size luxury car produced by Bentley Motors Limited in the United Kingdom. The car is named after the Mulsanne Corner of the Le Mans racing circuit, Bentley cars having won six victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the past.
Bentley Continental Flying Spur (2005-present)
The Bentley Continental Flying Spur is a four-door saloon produced by Bentley Motors Limited since 2005. It is a four door variant of the 2003 Bentley Continental GT coupé, and like the Continental GT shares its platform with the Volkswagen Phaeton, and powertrain components related to the Audi A8 and S8.
Bentley Continental GT (2003-present)
The Bentley Continental GT is a grand tourer manufactured and marketed by British automaker Bentley Motors since 2003. It was the first car released by Bentley under Volkswagen AG management, after the company's acquisition in 1998, and the first Bentley to employ mass production manufacturing techniques.
Bentley Bentayga (2016-present)
The Bentley Bentayga is a front-engine, all-wheel drive, five-door ultra-luxury crossover SUV marketed by British car manufacturer Bentley, beginning with model year 2016. Its body is manufactured at the Volkswagen Zwickau-Mosel plant which is then painted by Paintbox Editions in Banbury then finally assembled at the company's Crewe factory.
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