Feb 26, 2016 | By Tess

British luxury motorcar company Bentley is bringing their timeless car designs up to speed, possibly by integrating 3D printing into the vehicle's manufacturing, in order to have greater appeal amongst younger clients.

The motocar company, which in July 2015 appointed their new design chief Stefan Sielaff, a Volkswagen veteran with more than 25 years experience, is seeking to find ways to make their luxury car models, known for their hand-built and classic looks, more intriguing to affluent young buyers.

Founded in 1919 by W.O. Bentley, the company has maintained a style that harkens back to its early days and for many is seen as the epitome of classy, luxury driving. Sielaff, who is in charge of developing the company’s automobile design, does not want to do away with this tradition but wants to modernize it. He explains, “It’s not about making change for the sake of it, but about finding ways to interpret what our customers want. We have a hugely international design team here—more than 20 nationalities—and we are an international brand, and we must reflect those tastes and aspirations in our products.”

The spark behind this design rethinking? Technological breakthroughs such as 3D printing, which could allow the company to create complex, unique forms impossible through other hand-built techniques. As the motorcar company, a subsidiary of Volkswaged AG, stresses hand-built quality, however, the integration of additive manufacturing would be considered and not too dominant a factor in the car’s interior design and function.

As Sielaff ensures, “A very complex piece that has been machined can create emotions so long as it is heartfelt and the very best. A Bentley will always have a unique human craftsmanship, but we can explore both areas.”

Stefan Sielaff

Other car companies, such as Audi, Ford, and Buick, have placed immense focus on 3D printing technologies in their automobile manufacturing and are eager to bring the technology into their design and production processes. Ford, which has invested in many 3D printing initiatives and has been intrigued by the technology since the late 1980s, is using 3D printing to efficiently create complex prototypes for car parts. Notably, the company used 3D printing to create parts for their impressive Ford GT Supercar.

German car manufacturer Audi, for its part, is even approaching the integration of 3D printed metal parts in their regular car production, meaning that you could soon purchase an Audi with 3D printed components.

American car company Buick has already made headway in putting 3D printed cars on the market, as it recently unveiled one of its newest models the Avista, which features 3D printed trimming on the doors and seats in the car’s interior.

While Bentley has not officially stated whether any of their upcoming models will integrate additive manufacturing technologies, we would not be surprised if the company followed suit and found their own unique way to use the technology to help their luxury cars appeal to younger generations of buyers.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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