You know that old nightmare that we all get once in a while where we find ourselves taking a test we haven’t studied for? I’m not saying this is exactly what’s been going on at Bentley, but a new emissions standard and unpreparedness on the automaker’s part resulted in a €137-million company loss for the first nine months of this year. Damn.
A new vehicle emissions and consumption standard called the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure, introduced in Europe on Sept. 1, caused Bentley “catastrophic” delays in sales because it wasn’t ready to pass the new tests, reports Automotive News Europe. The result was a loss of €137 million, or approximately $155 million.
Bentley’s CEO, Adrian Hallmark, told the outlet,
“We were not quick enough unfortunately to book capacity or prioritize our derivatives within some of the group processes to get them certified on time. There has not been capacity around Europe to test all the derivatives so we have had to be ruthless in that prioritization.”
The cars were “stuck in the queue” for testing under the new WLTP regulations, thus delaying things like bringing the hybrid Bentayga to market and rolling out the new Continental GT. These delays affected about 300 to 400 Bentayga sales, Hallmark said. Global sales took an 11 percent nosedive in the first nine months of this year as well.
The WLTP replaces the outdated New European Driving Cycle. It applies officially to all new car registrations from Sept. 2018 and is a global standard for determining pollutant, CO2 emissions levels, fuel consumption and electric range for light duty cars. From the website:
WLTP was developed with the aim of being used as a global test cycle across different world regions, so pollutant and CO2 emissions as well as fuel consumption values would be comparable worldwide. However, while the WLTP has a common global ‘core’, the European Union and other regions will apply the test in different ways depending on their road traffic laws and needs.
Hallmark, however, seems positive. “This year is a conversion year to a better business model,” he said. “Next year you will start to see significant growth and a return to normality in terms of profit.”
I’ll take your word for it, bud!