Bentley will build W12 engines for Audi, VW

Workers build W12 engines at Bentley's plant in England.

Photo credit: Bloomberg
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LONDON -- Bentley will build Volkswagen Group's W12 engines for sister brands Volkswagen and Audi starting next year, creating about 100 jobs for its England factory and ending production of the engines in Germany.

Bentley, which was bought by VW in 1998, will make its factory in Crewe, northwest England, a ''center of excellence'' for W12 engines, which are used in Bentley models, Audi's flagship A8 sedan and the VW Phaeton.

W12 engines for Audi and VW are currently built in VW's engine plant in Salzgitter, Germany. Bentley's Crewe plant builds the 6.0-liter W12 engine for its Continental GT coupe, Continental GTC convertible and Flying Spur limousine. Its new SUV will also get the engine.

The move will lead to Bentley exporting engines to cars made outside of Britain for the first time. The additional production will increase W12 engine production in Crewe to 9,000 a year in 2017/18 and create 100 jobs, Bentley said.

The new engines will be Euro 6 emissions compliant, a spokesman said. Last year Bentley made nearly 5,000 W12 engines.

Bentley CEO Wolfgang Schreiber said it made sense to manufacture all W12 engines in one place and played down the significance for German carmaking, given VW's target to sell a total of 10 million cars overall. "It is not a disaster for Germany," he told reporters today in London. "The W12 volume in total compared to that volume that they normally produce in the engine manufacturing plants is relatively low."

W12 engines are powerful but compact powerplants with 12 cylinders and a W-shaped layout.

Bentley reported a record 167 million euros profit for 2013, up 67 percent from the year before. The brand plans to increase its dealerships to 220 this year, up from 193.

Reuters contributed to this report

You can reach Nick Gibbs at nick.gibbs@btinternet.com.

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