This is less of a UK-focused prediction, more of a global one. Geelyâ€™s far-reaching tentacles are well documented, from its ownership of Volvo, Lotus, Lynk&Co, Polestar, Proton, LEVC and more, through to its significant shareholding in Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler. Yet its reported recent interest in acquiring a stake in Aston Martin earlier this year, prior to losing out to Lawrence Stroll, suggests it isnâ€™t done yet.
Word is that as China emerged from the coronavirus crisis and Europe plunged into it, the Chinese administration was already suggesting to its most powerful companies that they start work assembling war chests and drawing up targets for when the pandemic had wreaked its havoc. Brutal it may be, but the business sense is clear: there are going to be a lot of troubled companies in desperate need of investment, making it a buyerâ€™s market.
A left field finale, but itâ€™s impossible not to note the discretely front-footed approach adopted at Crewe in recent weeks. After a period of reorganisation and reflection after taking charge, the ever-erudite Adrian Hallmark appears to have thrived during the crisis, emerging with a clear vision of whatâ€™s required from himself, his employees and his cars â€“ past, present and future â€“ in order to build a thriving business.
Early on in the crisis, Bentley provided glimpses of just how robust the luxury market was set to be, suggesting that the coronavirus had done little to dent Chinese demand. Right now, that appears to have held true elsewhere in the world, with the firm reported to have had only around 3% of orders cancelled. With a wealthy and profitable owner in the Volkswagen Group, a stockpile of forward orders and strong leadership with an emerging vision for thriving into the future, Bentleyâ€™s 4000-strong workforce must be among the most energised in the UK right now.
Itâ€™s a reasonable bet that any company that was struggling prior to the crisis is feeling even more pain now. While billionaire Lawrence Strollâ€™s rescue package bought Aston Martin time, investors remain wary of the firmâ€™s financial position, and much will hinge on how quickly it can get DBXs into the hands of customers and keep cash flowing.