Car Industry

Bentley control may shift to Audi as VW aims for greater cohesion across divisions

And Lamborghini could go public in a Ferrari-style spin-off.

Bentley, meet Audi. Maybe.
Steven Ewing/Roadshow

This era of the automobile industry is a wild one. Electrification continues to ramp up at the expense of large displacement engines and traditional engineering. Autonomous technologies have promise, but the reality is, they cost incredible amounts of money to research and develop. That leaves automakers like Volkswagen Group in a bit of a pickle as it juggles a portfolio of luxury brands that may not pull their weight.

If rumors reported by Automobilewoche on Sunday ring true, a worst-case scenario for Bentley -- a sale -- isn't in the cards. Instead, the British luxury marque will reportedly shift to Audi's control, which would allow the two to share technology easier to create cost savings in the long run. When it comes to the all-important matter of electrifying cars at Bentley, the brand's been outspoken that we shouldn't expect full-blown EVs for a few years at best. A tie-up with Audi could speed the timeline up as Audi's taken a leading role within VW Group to electrify the automaker's luxury brands.

While that could stave off problems with Bentley, there's another Italian bull in the room to complicate matters: Lamborghini. The firm isn't exactly well-known for electric cars, rather, big V10 engines with outspoken design. According to Reuters, the division may be on its way to a public spin-off, not unlike the way Fiat Chrysler handled Ferrari. With more independence granted via a spin-off, it could be a win-win. Lamborghini as a separate entity wouldn't drag down VW's electrification goals nearly as much, but VW is likely to remain a large stakeholder in any public Lamborghini company.

VW Group did not immediately return Roadshow's request for comment on the reported potential shakeups.

These plans have likely been in the works in some form even before the coronavirus pandemic. We've consistently heard rumors about possible VW division sales, including Bentley and Lamborghini. And remember, there's even more overlap when you bring Bugatti into the mix, which is also subject to its own sale rumors.

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