Bentley Chairman and CEO, Mr Wolfgang Dürheimer, has outlined his vision for the future of luxury mobility and Bentley’s role in defining it in an address at the annual Automotive News World Congress in Detroit, USA.
Speaking on the subject of changing customer types and tastes, Mr Dürheimer highlighted the seismic changes that face luxury carmakers in the near future.
“The next 10 years will be transformational for luxury car makers. We will see customer demographics broaden and change dramatically to incorporate millennials; the rising affluent in developing economies; and members of Generation ‘C’ – the connected generation where attitude, rather than age, is the defining characteristic,” he explained.
“And these future customers will have very different expectations and requirements to the luxury car buyer of today.”
Dürheimer continued: “Our research tells us that they will, for example, demand instant, unobstructed access to technology, information and convenience; have an entirely different attitude towards vehicle ownership; and live in an increasingly urbanised world with all the mobility challenges and opportunities that this presents. At Bentley, we are embracing this change and we are taking a leading role in defining the future of luxury mobility.”
Mr Dürheimer went on to outline how Bentley will engage these new customers in order to future-proof the luxury British brand. “Our belief is that technology on its own is not enough. Technology in isolation is cold and can never be truly luxurious. We must never lose the human touch.”
He revealed that Bentley’s extensive global research suggests luxury customers of the future will value highly tradition, heritage and craftsmanship (the story behind the product) and demand beautiful, high-quality, authentic design – with every material used demonstrating sustainability and serving a purpose.
“As those of you who know our cars and our brand will agree,” Dürheimer explained, “these are all traits that Bentley demonstrates in abundance. In particular the idea of authenticity. There is an unmistakable human touch about what we do; the ‘da Vinci’ in the detail that separates our cars from the rest.”
On the subject of how this approach could be realised in practical terms, Mr Dürheimer identified a number of potential features and ideas that Bentley could potentially introduce in the future.
“I believe there is a big future for more diverse and sophisticated concierge-style services that will enhance the lives of our customers. We are also investigating a global Bentley customer network – a ‘club’ where ownership does not relate to a single vehicle, but rather it entitles you to a luxury mobility solution in selected cities around the world.”
Dürheimer continued: “We will certainly use new technology to enhance traditional and authentic materials in new and contemporary ways. One possible example of this could be to overlay OLED screens across wood veneers. These ultra-thin screens would be invisible except when in use, for example, to control the audio or HVAC systems.”