British luxury car maker, Bentley, will fast track plans to make all its cars capable of running on biofuels by introducing its first such vehicle in March at the Geneva Motor Show.
Bentley’s sales and marketing guru, Stuart McCullough hinted during the Detroit Motor Show that the company was pushing ahead with its goal to have its entire range of luxury cars capable of running on biofuels by 2012.
During the economic downturn, McCullough said the worldwide sales of luxury vehicles declined by 20 percent, with Bentley’s own sales falling by 24 percent from its record year in 2007. He said that Bentley was trying several steps to tackle this problem.
To counter weak sales in Europe and the U.S., Bentley is increasing exports to China to 53 percent and to the Middle East to 18 percent. The company has also cut U.K. production output and used the downtime to retrain its workforce in addition to taking in more apprentices to keep the company strong and flexible. Bentley is one of the few carmakers that manufacture its luxury cars by hand using modern equipment.
At the Detroit Motor Show, Bentley showcased its new Continental GTC and a new Speed model cabrio as part of the GT range. The Speed model gets a new W12 powerplant with 600 hp from 552 hp, clocking in a 0-to-100 kph time of 4.5 secs and a top speed of 320kph. The Speed has lowered suspension and new springs and dampers.
McCullough claims that Bentley’s new models, like the GT Speed, have added sales. The GT Speed has a new grille and a new front bumper with bigger air intakes to improve engine cooling. The car also features 20-inch wheels and larger tailpipes.
Bentley is targeting the new models for Middle East buyers and developing markets to make up for falling sales in its traditional markets.