fluffy yet turgid

Geege geege at barrera.org
Mon Dec 1 18:00:51 PST 2003


"Volkswagen has allowed us to rebuild the brand," he says. "Endless money
has been put into the factory."(See related story: End of Rolls-Royce Era
Nears at Crewe)

this is where i came in - i enabled bentley. go volkswagen. you all need to
go test drive a GLI, the package in which standard is standard.  you'll be
moved and impressed.

gg

-----Original Message-----
From: fork-bounces at xent.com [mailto:fork-bounces at xent.com]On Behalf Of
Joseph S. Barrera III
Sent: Monday, December 01, 2003 4:28 PM
To: Gregory Alan Bolcer
Cc: FoRK
Subject: Re: fluffy yet turgid


http://wardsauto.com/ar/auto_bentley_coupe_quadruple/

Bentley Coupe to Quadruple Brand’s Sales

By Herb Shuldiner

WardsAuto.com, Sep 11 2003

NEW YORK – Car buyers looking to purchase the new Bentley coupe better
get in line. The $150,000 premium car already is sold out.

New Bentley Coupe already has 2,000 orders.

“If you put down your deposit now, May 2005 is the earliest you could
get one of our new coupes," says Bentley Motors Inc. President Alasdair
Stewart.

Stewart predicts the coupe will quadruple Bentley's volume next year
from the current 400 units annually in the U.S. "Two years down the
line, we'll do 10,000 cars worldwide and 5,000 in the U.S. and Canada,"
he says. (See related story: Bentley Roars Ahead on Its Own)

Even without Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, whose brand ownership shifted to
BMW AG on Jan. 1, Bentley sales volume in units and revenue is barely
behind last year, Stewart says. "We might be five or six cars behind."

He forecasts sales of about 400 units this year — some 40% of the U.K.
plant's output. At the same time, U.S. Bentley dealers are selling
approximately one used car for every new car.

Dealers make more money on used cars than new cars, Stewart says. Part
of the reason used car sales have boomed is that some customers don't
want to wait for a coupe to become available, so they buy a used Bentley.

"Margins on new and used cars have firmed up since the beginning of the
year," he adds, noting Bentley does not offer incentives.

While not all Bentley dealers have Rolls-Royce franchises now, all of
them continue to service older Rolls cars. Bentley is the sole
manufacturer and supplier of replacement parts for all the Rolls-Royce
cars built in Crewe, England.

"It's a big enough business for us to make and market Crewe genuine
parts,” Stewart says. "That's a business we're aggressively pursuing."

Meanwhile, coupe orders are coming in at a rate of 150 per week. "We
intend to fulfill as many of the coupe orders as we can next year," he
says. But coupe deliveries cannot exceed 1,500-1,600 units due to plant
capacity.

"We could go to a second shift to add production," Stewart says, noting
that Crewe already has added about 300 employees, including engineers
and production workers.

He also says people are starting to recognize Bentley as separate from
Rolls-Royce. The coupe announcement and the Le Mans racing victory this
year helped lift the brand’s image.

These developments emphasize the driving aspect of the brand, Stewart
says. “We are not a trophy car." Bentley owners frequently drive their
own cars – they don't have chauffeurs, he says, adding that customers
are beginning to discover the difference between Bentley and Rolls-Royce.

Despite the emphasis on driving, Bentley is not abandoning its
reputation for using the finest materials and craftsmanship in its
hand-built cars. Nearly half of Bentley's output receives some
personalized content.

Stewart estimates the customization averages about $5,000 per car. But
he says one customer from Michigan ordered a Bentley Arnage this year
whose price exceeded $500,000. The customer ordered a variety of
customized features, including a unique instrument panel that looks like
the one in his airplane.

He also ordered an “amazing” sound system and some fuel tank changes.
"He's a very special customer for us," Stewart says. "He owns five
Bentleys. Most Bentley customers own a portfolio of five or six cars.

Stewart says Bentley models to date compete with the Rolls-Royce and
Maybach marques, while the new ($160,000) coupe will compete in a lower
segment against the very top-end Mercedes-Benz and BMW models.

He believes the coupe will grab conquest sales from current owners of
the Mercedes SL600 and other top-end cars in the Mercedes and BMW
lineups. Stewart also sees Ferrari and Aston-Martin owners as conquest
targets. "A little less so from Lamborghini," he says.

There may be some erosion of Arnage sales when the coupe debuts next
spring. But Stewart forecasts the Arnage will remain important to
Bentley despite the coupe being followed by the lower-priced Continental
GT sedan.(See related story: Arnage Won’t Be Forgotten as Bentley Moves
Down Market)

"Eventually, I hope we'll have a convertible also," he says. "But
nothing is in the works on that right now." Nor does Bentley have plans
for a true sports car.

Stewart believes the auto maker could not have survived without
Volkswagen AG's takeover. "Volkswagen has allowed us to rebuild the
brand," he says. "Endless money has been put into the factory."(See
related story: End of Rolls-Royce Era Nears at Crewe)

In addition, VW allows the people who run the Crewe plant to run the
brand. "The payback will start with the coupe,"Stewart predicts. "From
that we hope to finance future product development."

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