In the next few months, Bentley management will have to make a critical decision on whether to push the development of an all-new third product line to compliment the ultra-luxury maker’s mid-range Continental and top-line Mulsanne offerings.
The management team that is tasked to decide on this matter is led by new CEO Wolfgang Durheimer, who takes over from Franz-Josef Paefgen.
On Feb. 1, Paefgen will step down as chief executive; however, he will remain as a Bentley consultant. At the Detroit Auto Show, Paefgen told TheDetroitBureau.com that he looks forward to retirement.
In the past nine years, Paefgen has been molding Bentley into “a company in a stable situation leading the luxury segment and strong enough to grow further.”
Of course, there are skeptics who doubt the brand’s stability in the last few years. After Bentley reached an all-time peak of 10,014 in 2007, worldwide volume fell to only 4,616 in 2009. As a result, the company had to introduce sharp cutbacks on its assembly lines.
But even as revenues dropped, Bentley continued work on two critical product lines: the all-new Mulsanne flagship, and the newly-redesigned Continental GT. It’s almost as if Bentley knew what was going to happen as its timing is perfect, especially with the global luxury market showing signs of a turnaround.
On the Mulsanne sedan’s first month on the market (December 2010), Bentley has already received 230 orders. This figure exceeds Bentley’s most optimistic initial pronouncements for the Mulsanne sedan that’s priced at $285,000.
It has also been predicted that the $189,900 Continental GT, which was formally introduced in the U.S. at the Detroit Auto Show, will also benefit from the improving global economy. [via thedetroitburreau]