How will the leak of images from the SUV’s testing impact the teaser-style marketing campaign the brand has been running?
What impacts will this have upon the release of the vehicle?
“In my opinion . . .”
Germany’s Nürburgring Nordschleife—proving grounds for many performance-based automakers.
The world of automotive design and styling is highly competitive and has its own kind of paparazzi as well. Automotive spy shots are taken and “leaked” all the time. These spy photographers, with their long lenses are always on the lookout for engineers testing power trains and running gear in the next generation of vehicles. They testing often takes place in Death Valley in the summer, far northern latitudes of Europe in the winter and on noted closed-circuit race tracks such as the Nürburgring Nordschleife in Germany.
It’s a cat-and-mouse game. The cars are typically cloaked in camouflage in an attempt to obscure the latest design cues while still allowing proper airflow for the engine. The engineers who are doing the testing are tasked with keeping the cars as secret as possible. Obviously that does not always work to plan.
Captured photos and/or videos can sell for quite a bit of money to the right automotive news magazines and websites. In competition to get better readership, which means more advertising revenue, editors always want to be the first to break the news about a new design before competitors have a chance to do so. Everyone likes to feel they are in on the secret.
Are some spy shots sometimes staged? Perhaps. Do spy shots create a stir? Yes. They get conversations started. Marketing and PR firms monitor the reactions and comments by readers. Will this cause buzz in Bentley’s case? Yes, it already has. Debates rage over the styling and its actual raison d’etre.
Spy shots also build anticipation while vehicle development continues. Bentley’s marketing and sales departments hope that people shopping for a new high-end SUV will postpone the purchase of an existing SUV built by others. It also gets on the radar of the early adopters—those who always want to be seen with the latest and greatest.
Well, the powers-that-be christened this new vehicle Bentayg—it comes from ‘Roque Bentayga’, a rugged peak in the Canary Islands. What is the name supposed to represent? Recently, the company’s CEO, Wolfgang Dürheime (the revered British marque now owned by Volkswagen Group) said of the new name: “Bentayga is a name that reflects what we know our SUV will do better than any other car in the world: combine the best automotive luxury with outstanding performance to take the Bentley experience to new environments.”
However, that said, I personally think it’s a shame to see Bentley cave-in, feeling the company needs to have their own sport utility vehicle. In my opinion, nobody in the real world needs a Bentley for sport or utility. The decision makers are diluting the exclusivity of the Bentley mystique by allowing the marque to become more and more mainstream. I doubt Bentley will snatch significant market share from Land Rover Range Rover, which are formidable-yet-luxurious SUVs. However Bentley will probably give the marketers of Porsche Cayenne, Mercedes-Benz M Class and the soon-to-come Jaguar F-pace SUV headaches. But that’s the problem as I see it. Bentley is now lowering its exclusivity and presence to compete with the mainstream brands. Stay tuned. Apparently Rolls-Royce is next!