Boost for Bentley as VW plans to invest £20bn

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The Independent Online

Volkswagen announced plans yesterday to invest almost £20bn over the next five years in its car brands, which include the luxury UK marque Bentley.

The German car giant also said that it intended to create two new brand groups ­ a "sporty" one covering the Audi, Seat and Lamborghini marques and another one compromising the "classic" VW, Bentley, Bugatti and Skoda makes.

VW will invest a total of 31bn euros (£19.3bn) between 2002 and 2006, of which 21bn euros (£13.1bn) will be spent on product-related projects. The investment is about 1bn euros less than VW had previously planned for the five-year period.

The new strategy of dividing up the brands follows the appointment of the former BMW boss Bernd Pischetsrieder as VW's chairman and chief executive, in place of Ferdinand Piech. Mr Pischetsrieder, currently chairman of Seat, will also assume direct control of research and development when he takes up the top job next April.

Bentley will also have a new chairman in the shape of Franz-Josef Paefgen who moves over from Audi to run the Crewe-based carmaker. BMW takes over control of the Rolls-Royce brand from VW in 2003.

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