Bentley anticipates robust growth in terms of sales in 2012

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 4, 2012

For 2012, the Bentley brand anticipates that its sales will experience a "robust" growth and that it will be more profitable as rich consumers return to their old buying habits, which were put on hold due to the 2008 economic recession.

Bentley is Volkswagen AG's super-luxury brand. Its CEO Wolfgang Duerheimer said that consumers have gotten tired of “pushing back purchases year after year.” He believes that there’s a “good chance” that Bentley’s deliveries will be able to get near the record it set in 2007 if the economy remains stable.

In 2011, Bentley’s sales were higher by 37%, attributed mostly to the doubling of demand in China. This led to the profit reporting a profit for the first time since 2008. In 2010, Bentley posted an operating loss of 245 million euros ($320 million). Founded in 1919, Bentley considers its main rival to be BMW AG's Rolls-Royce, which recorded its best sales year in 2007 with sales of 10,014 cars. Duerheimer said that deliveries last year reached 7,003 vehicles as China beat the United Kingdom as the brand’s second-biggest market. The U.S. is its biggest market. Sales are likely to increase by double-digit percentage this year.

Its profit is likely to surpass the figure set in 2011, which has yet to be announced. In the first nine months of 2011, Bentley reported a 6 million-euro operating loss. The last time that it recorded its last annual profit was in 2008 with 10 million euros. Adam Hull, a London-based WestLB analyst said that considering Volkswagen's 11 billion-euro earnings before interest and taxes, this figure is “not huge.”

He added though that this is “encouraging” results. Bentley hopes to exploit the stronger demand by adding 25 dealers in 2012 to its 161 sales outlets around the world. He said that the expansion will be concentrated in China, Russia and mainland Europe, with U.S. sales expected to grow at its current distribution network.

As part of its commitment to helping the environment, Bentley has long wanted to have a powertrain that would improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 40%. The release of the twin turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine inside the Continental GTC convertible and the Continental GT coupé signals the realization of that promise.

Bentley bets on new V8 engines

Features of this advanced V8 engine include having an advanced turbo charger packaging to allow for greater efficiency and a charging system to help with energy recuperation. Thermal management is present as well as low friction bearings and high pressure direct injection.

Variable displacement is a part as well and when paired with the highly advanced engine management system, results in an indiscernible and smooth transition, when in light throttle load, to a V4 from a V8 mode.

What sets it apart from the other product lines of Bentley is how this V8 engine emits that all too familiar sound. While the final and official figures are slated to be revealed by the early part of 2012, early estimates show that it can travel at least 800 km (500 miles) on a full tank of fuel. Performance-wise, maximum output is at 373 kW (507 PS/500 bhp) coming in at 6,000 rpm.

Peak torque meanwhile is rather high at 660 Nm (487 lb.-ft.) and already available on a wide range of revolution from 1,700 rpm and all the way to 5,000 rpm. Indeed, it exhibits power delivery that is effortless and performance that is exhilarating, as one would expect from a Bentley. With the new V8 engine being paired to the automatic 8-speed transmission which has close ratio, acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 60 mph) is possible in barely 5 seconds with maximum speed being at more than 290 km/h (180 mph).

Indeed, the fuel efficiency and the CO2 emissions of these new models show that it is the best for the luxury performance class. When combined with the excellent power-to-emissions ratio, the V8 engine is indeed able to set new standards in the high luxury sports car segment. As mentioned, the new engine will be equipped inside the GT and GTC.

While the two do have the same muscular appearance, there are a number of details that set them apart. These include a matric grille in black gloss with a center bar and chrome frame and the Bentley “B” badge in red enamel. Then there is the lower front bumper which is in black matrix and three segments and that has been divided using strakes in the same color as the body.

Topics: bentley, sales

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