• Landmark milestone reached for famous manufacturing plant
  • Site investment continues with green technologies

(Crewe, 20th June 2013) This day 75 years ago in 1938, the first building block was placed at Pyms Lane marking the beginning of Bentley’s famous factory in Crewe.

Originally constructed to manufacture the Merlin engines which powered Spitfire and Hurricane fighters, the factory is now home to more than 3,600 Bentley employees who helped manufacture over 8,500 Bentley cars last year for discerning customers all over the world.

Member of the Board for Sales, Marketing and Aftersales Kevin Rose, commented: “This is an important landmark in the history of manufacturing in Crewe. Many great achievements have been made, and are still being made, here in the factory – from its original construction to producing cars for over 60 years that sit at the pinnacle of luxury automotive manufacturing.

“It is this continued investment, in both our product and our facilities that have made this possible, as well as our many thousands of employees who have worked so tirelessly to make the business and site run so successfully. This is a celebration for them as well, as we not only look to the past, but to the future where we will strive to continue this success.”

In the months leading up to Monday 20th June 1938, Rolls Royce, then owners of Bentley, was looking to expand production of its Merlin engine. The business considered different locations but identified Crewe for its quality and availability of engineers, and strong transport links.

Merrill’s Farm, Pyms Lane was the chosen site and 60 acres of land was purchased for the sum of £99 per acre. Ground levelling started immediately and in October 1938, production started, with 500 engines built and 2,000 employees based in the factory by the end of 1939.

The introduction of the new factory also had a considerable effect on the wider Crewe area, with 2,000 new houses built, many of which were to accommodate employees.

Production moved quickly, and by 1945, over 15,000 aero engines had been built when the decision was made to move predominantly to car production. Just a year later, the first Bentley was produced, the Mk VI.

Car production remained at a pace and now production continues in growing numbers and the Home of Bentley in Crewe is considered as a Volkswagen Group Centre of Excellence for its Wood and Leather and Trim manufacturing departments.

Developments continue at the Pyms Lane factory, with Bentley keen to invest in new technologies as part of its position as the third largest investor in research and development in UK automotive industry.

The manufacturer recently installed 20,000 solar panels with a capacity of 5MW, the UK’s largest roof-mounted solar panel installation, which will generate up to 40 per cent of Bentley’s energy requirements and reduce CO2 usage by 2000 tonnes per year.

The panels will also generate enough energy to power over 1,200 households in Crewe, once again in its 75th anniversary year, proving the valuable contribution the factory has made to the local and wider community.

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