Bentley: Sales Will Improve in 2010

Although its Continental range is starting to get a little long in the tooth, British luxury automaker Bentley expects its global sales volumes to substantially increase in 2010.

Bentley CEO Franz-Josef Paefgen says the company aims to sell 5000 cars this year, a sizable increase over last year's figure. Of course, expect much of that volume to be headed directly to customers located in China and the Middle East.

“China is exploding,” says Paefgen. “It is a big market and has the biggest growth. The Middle East is pretty stable. America has been on the difficult side.”

Last year, just 1367 new Bentleys were sold in the U.S., making up nearly 30 percent of the 4616 sold globally. Although Bentley is looking for an 8.3-percent increase in sales this year, its target is still about 50 percent off its peak from 2007, when it sold 10,014 cars worldwide. Increased sales will undoubtedly help the bottom line. Bentley was among a host of automakers in the red last year, posting a loss of $262 million.

This year, the Arnage-succeeding Mulsanne is the brand’s hottest product, but the importance of its Continental lineup cannot be understated. Although it's hard to describe any product with a six-figure price tag as "entry-level," the Continental range has been quite successful at luring first-time buyers to the brand. Expect a revised Continental range to emerge in mid-2011, complete with new fenders patterned after the new Mulsanne.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

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