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Posts Tagged ‘Bentley’

European Luxury Brands Riding US, China Sales

Off-continent sales insulate makers from tough environment.

by on Mar.19, 2014

The Bentley GT Speed convertible is one of several recent additions helping buoy the marque's sales.

European car sales were up for the sixth month in a row; however, that bit of good news comes on the heels of the market suffering its worst downturn in decades, which is to say oftentimes good news is relative.

February sales rose 8% in February to 861,058 units, according to European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association. It was still the second-worst February ever. In short, it’s getting better, but there’s still a long way to go.

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However, luxury automakers have been bustling along during the downturn as if nothing had changed from the European market’s heyday. (more…)

Bentley Breaks Global Sales Record in 2013

Luxury maker debuting Continental GT V8 S in Detroit.

by on Jan.09, 2014

Bentley is showing the Continental GT V8 S in North America for the first time in Detroit.

Bentley is riding a wave of powerful new models and good news into the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The premier luxury maker is showing its Continental GT V8 S in North America for the first time at the show.

It is teamed with the Flying Spur, the maker’s fastest sedan, and the Mulsanne, Bentley’s top-of-the-line marque, at this year’s event.

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Aside from displaying a new entry, the company is talking up its 2013 sales, which hit a new record: 10,120. The 19% increase superseded the previous high of 8,510 in 2012. (more…)

Bentley Adding Coupe-Like Sedan, According to Reports

New four-door would be ready by 2018.

by on Sep.25, 2013

Bentley's SUV concept, the EXP-F9, is coming to life and may be joined by a new coupe-like sedan.

There was a time when Bentleys were little more than rebadged versions of old partner Rolls-Royce models. But, in recent years, the British maker has been generating significant demand with an expanded and updated line-up of offerings such as the new Flying Spur and the big Mulsanne.

Now, it seems, Bentley’s line-up is set to get significantly bigger. As we’ve already reported, the maker is moving ahead on the development of its first-ever luxury SUV, a model that will be based on the EXP 9F concept vehicle the world got a first glimpse of in Geneva at the 2012 Motor Show. But could there be still more to come?

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Apparently, yes. Reports from Europe suggesting the next model will be a coupe-like sedan – think Mercedes-Benz CLS on an even grander scale – due out in 2018, according to the U.K.’s Car magazine. (more…)

New Products Bring First Half Surge for Bentley

But British luxury marque still well off record pace.

by on Jul.10, 2013

The Bentley GT Speed convertible is one of several recent additions helping buy the British marque's sales.

With new products like the GT Speed convertible, its fastest ragtop ever, Bentley recorded a big surge in demand for the first half of 2013, the maker reports.

Worldwide sales rose 9%, to 4,279, over the same period a year ago, according to the British luxury brand. But that’s still well off the record pace Bentley set in 2008, just before the global economic collapse.

“Bentley continues to post significant global sales growth and we are extremely confident we will sustain this success for the remaining months of 2013 as we see the full availability of our new Flying Spur in all markets,” declared Kevin Rose, the marque’s board member in charge of sales, marketing and aftersales.

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Long an afterthought in the ultra-premium automotive market, Bentley began a rebuilding effort even before it was split off from its long-time partner Rolls-Royce and sold to Germany’s Volkswagen AG.  A critical step was expanding the product range – with an emphasis on a performance heritage tracing back to Bentley’s early dominance in motorsports, including the grueling Le Mans endurance race.

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VW First Quarter Profit Drops

Despite drop, maker’s market share improves.

by on Apr.29, 2013

Volkswagen reported a drop in income, but an increase in Q1 market share.

Volkswagen AG saw its earnings and revenue decline on a year-over-year basis during the first quarter as the European debt crisis continued to stifle sales across Europe and left the company’s Seat brand in the red.

VW’s after tax earnings fell to 1.9 billion euro, or $2.5 billion, from 3.1 billion. Overall, VW’s sales revenue in the first three months dropped 1.4% to 46.6 billion euros from 47.3 billion euros in the first quarter of 2012.

Despite the challenging conditions and intense competition VW bolstered its overall global market share, which climbed to 12.6% from 12.2%. Including China, deliveries increased by 4.8% to 2.3 million vehicles worldwide.

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“We made a healthy start to the year, but the coming months will be anything but easy. The current environment is definitely a tough challenge for the entire industry,” said VW Chairman Martin Winterkorn, adding he remained optimistic about the company’s outlook.

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First Drive: 2013 Bentley Continental GT Speed

Autobahn Worthy

by on Jan.03, 2013

Tearing up the Autobahn at triple-digit speeds.

It was a scene I did not expect, but should have given the prodigious performance of the 2013 Bentley Continental GT Speed.  Not satisfied with the mere 198 mph top speed of the “base” Continental GT, Bentley’s team of engineers, led by the effervescent Brian Gush, massaged the potent twin-turbo W12 engine in the GT Speed to output 616 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. Top speed after the upgrades: 205 mph.

We were encouraged by the Bentley media team to safely explore the upper limits of this beast, keeping in mind that our primary test route, the famous Autobahn network of highways across Germany, did have some sections with well-enforced speed limits.

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My driving partner and I were a bit late as we approached our departure from scenic Bavaria, Germany, as we had taken a bit too much time shooting video of the new GT Speed during our lunch stop.  So to make our international flight back home, we bypassed the route chosen by Bentley and tried typing the direct destination into the car’s GPS.

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From Bentley to Audi, Durheimer Has Big Plans

Luxury SUV, due in 2015, to serve as his legacy.

by on Aug.23, 2012

Bentley CEO Woflgang Durheimer prepares to move on for a new job at Audi.

In the scheme of things, Wolfgang Durheimer wasn’t at Bentley all that long but he will be leaving a legacy that will see the ultra-luxury maker continue to undergo major changes for years to come. That includes its controversial entry into the SUV segment.

Now, Durheimer sets off for Audi, another premium brand in the Volkswagen AG empire – where observers expect him to again leave an indelible stamp.

As the result of an unexpected, corporate-wide management shake-up , Durheimer will leave Bentley next month to become the R&D chief at Audi – a job similar to what he’d previously held with Porsche.  His hope, he said during an interview, is to have “made Bentley sustainable for the future.”

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The key to that, he contends, is the launch of the British maker’s third product line, an all-new sport-utility vehicle, which Durheimer promises will be, “the most expensive SUV in the world,” with an expected base price of between 170,000 and 200,000 Euros, or roughly $220,000 to $260,000 at current exchange rates.

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Daimler Kills Maybach Brand Ahead of Schedule

German ultra-luxury brands dies a second death.

by on Aug.17, 2012

Daimler tried to save the Maybach brand with the 2010 launch of the Zeppelin, which even had an optional, $10,000 automatic perfume atomizer.

Daimler AG has officially called it quits on the grand plan to create a luxury car brand to rival the likes of the vaunted Rolls-Royce and Bentley. The German maker has “discontinued” production of all Maybach products.

The question is whether anyone other than the media will notice.  Despite its most ambitious efforts, the Maybach marque barely generated 10% to 20% of the sales the maker had ambitiously anticipated, apparently leading Daimler to pull the plug even earlier than originally expected.

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The end came almost exactly a decade after Maybach made its splashy U.S. launch, a helicopter sent to pluck the first of the massive vehicles off the QE2 ocean liner as it entered the Hudson River and deliver the sedan to a media introduction in New York City.

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Daimler Will Kill Maybach Brand

Luxury marque has never gained traction.

by on Nov.28, 2011

The original, pre-War Maybach Zeppelin was the first V12-powered German car. The new Maybach Zeppelin gained little traction with the luxury market.

The long-struggling Maybach brand will soon be euthanized – though few will likely notice considering the German luxury maker’s continually weak performance.

Parent Daimler AG has finally given up on the marque which was originally conceived as an all-new alternative to better-known Bentley and Rolls-Royce – future efforts focusing on a new, high-line version of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

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“We came to the strong conclusion that the sales chances for the Mercedes brand are much stronger than those for Maybach,” Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

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Bentley Planning Ultra-Luxury SUV

Third model line could also get a new hybrid or diesel.

by on Aug.22, 2011

Dr. Franz-Josef Paefgen (right) hands over the keys to his successor as Bentley CEO Wolfgang Durheimer.

Bentley, the classic British luxury carmaker, wants to add a sport-utility vehicle to its line-up, a move it predicts could yield a 50% increase in demand over its all-time sales record, the maker’s chief executive told TheDetroitBureau.com.

The new model could come as a surprise to those who expect to see Bentley stick with classic luxury designers, like the big Mulsanne and smaller Continental lines, “But I think people will adapt to the shock,” as they have when other brands like Porsche have introduced SUVs to their line-up, said Bentley CEO Wolfgang Durheimer, during a pair of exclusive interviews at the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance over the weekend.

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Durheimer should know.  In his previous incarnation as the top engineer at Porsche he led the development of the Cayenne, that sport-ute now the top-seller in the German maker’s line-up.  When initially told of the project, said Durheimer, Porsche dealers, “warned us it’s dangerous, but five years later we doubled the size of the company.”

Targets for the Bentley SUV aren’t quite as aggressive, but the maker still hopes to boost global sales to 15,000 a year with the new ute, compared with the previous all-time high of about 10,000.

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