March 2, 2016 / 12:56 PM / 2 years ago

VW's Bentley considers higher 2017 output of Bentayga SUV

GENEVA (Reuters) - Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) luxury division Bentley is considering an increase in production of its Bentayga sport-utility vehicle (SUV), the world’s most expensive SUV, Chief Executive Wolfgang Duerheimer said.

Bentley CEO Wolfgang Duerheimer presents Bentley Bentayga during the Volkswagen group night ahead of the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, Germany, September 14, 2015. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

Bentley in December raised its production capacity for the Bentayga, which costs around 200,000 euros ($217,100) to 5,500 models this year from 3,600 but has pre-orders from 10,000 people, Duerheimer said in an interview on Wednesday.

“We are evaluating whether we can do a little bit more” next year, Duerheimer said at the Geneva auto show.

Operations at Bentley’s factory in Crewe, England, are “full steam ahead”, he said.

Suppliers are still geared toward the original target of 3,600 models, so changes there and more shifts at the plant would be needed to enable Bentley to raise output, the CEO said.

“This is a step-by-step process but it’s a nice problem to have,” Duerheimer said, adding the British carmaker aims to keep the waiting list which currently stands at one year as short as possible.

Deliveries of cars priced between 125,000 euros and 250,000 euros could jump almost a fifth to more than 111,000 vehicles by 2020 from 93,554 last year as wealth in the United States and China keeps growing, according to research firm IHS Automotive.

($1 = 0.9212 euros)

Reporting by Andreas Cremer and Costas Pitas; editing by Jason Neely

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