Surrounded by idyllic countryside, the Crewe factory is located in Cheshire, in the north-west of England. Along with the Bentayga, Bentley also produces other luxury cars like the Flying Spur, the Mulsanne, as well as the coupe and convertible versions of the Continental here. But unlike at other plants, the cars are made by people rather than robots. They're also made with wood. Lots of wood...
That's because every piece of wood is different. If one sort is used up, it can't be replaced. All of the veneer used in a vehicle is cut from a single piece of wood. For larger surfaces, several sheets of veneer -- known as 'leaves' -- are painstakingly glued together to create a perfect mirror image. The wood is then cut into the desired shapes using a laser, before being attached to a backing.
Then it's sanded down over and over again. The surface must be perfectly smooth before the wood inlays can be lacquered and polished.
But a Bentley is made of more than wood. The hide from seven cows goes into making the leather upholstery for each Bentayga -- preferably from cattle that have grazed in mountainous regions, free of fences and mosquitos.
With their well-trained eyes, Bentley workers find and mark any imperfections in the leather. Then they cut it, with a little help from a computer. Taking the markings into account, the machine arranges all of the pieces needed in a way that reduces waste to a minimum. The rest of the work is then, once again, done by hand.
Upholstering all the seats for a vehicle can take many hours.
Even during assembly, robots are only used to assist the workers -- like here where they help install the dashboards. Tasks that are normally performed in seconds at other plants can take several minutes at Crewe -- to ensure that the workmanship is top notch. Every screw, every panel, every wire is put in by hand -- even at the vital stage where the body is fitted on to the chassis.