I was lucky enough to have a trip to Bentley yesterday, along with my fellow leaders at Achievers Academy for Women. I didn’t know a great deal about the brand or the cars before my visit and I was intrigued to find out more. I love cars, I love great quality, craftsmanship and great customer service. All of these are apparent in spades from the moment we arrived at their offices in Crewe.
The gleaming cars and the Bentley wings were on display at their prestigious new customer experience centre CW1. We were met and greeted by our guide for the morning, Nigel. We started with refreshments in their customer lounge area. You might be expecting lots of masculine dark leather and winged back chairs. None of that in their new cutting edge purpose-built showroom. It’s all modern, clean lines and the highest of quality.
Here are just a few of the options and choices you get to make when specifying your new Bentley. There are so many colour choices, options on colour and type of stitching. If you have one, you can even have your coat of arms or logo stitched in to the headrests – whatever floats your boat! Nigel was even telling us that one overseas princess asked them to match the colour of her cars to her favourite nail varnish!
We then set off on the factory tour – here are a few photos from the initial rooms, once we were in the factory, no cameras were allowed for obvious reasons.
Here’s W.O Bentley – founder of the company in 1919.
It was incredible to see the factory – it’s my first time on a factory tour, so I had no idea what to expect. Everyone was wearing white and pale grey, so it made the environment seem quite scientific. The line moves slowly to allow each job to be completed. We chatted to a few of the staff along the way. We were shown how the steering wheel and seats are hand stitched – we were even given a leather sample with a cross-stitch on it as a souvenir!
We were really impressed by the wood veneer and the process it goes through from root ball of a walnut tree to becoming part of the trim in the cars – we saw them being created by the presses. Every element of the process using the highest quality products and many man-hours and skill to complete. In the woodworking shop there are sons, fathers and grand-fathers all working together – passing on the skill and knowledge from generation to generation – very impressive.
I love these two quotes I saw on the walls there: ‘We start where others stop’ and ‘we’ve been taking things personally for nearly 250 years’. They both demonstrate the attention to detail, the bespoke nature of the cars and the outstanding customer service.
We all learned lots of great lessons from our day at Bentley. If I had a spare £140k I’d have no hesitation in buying one!! Here I am just testing out the feel of my future car!!