While the USA is VW-owned Bentley’s largest market (45% global share), the UK is second, followed by Germany, France, Switzerland and Russia (a showroom opened in Moscow last year and there are 50 customer orders to date).
Talking to AM at the Sunday Times Motor Show Live Geoff Dowding, managing director, European operations, says he expects to complete 2004 with about 1,500 UK sales – 200 Arnage, the balance GTs. He also anticipates growing the dealer network from 18 outlets to 22, and is close to confirming authorised repairer status with two businesses – one of them understood to be HR Owen in London.
“There has been substantial investment by dealers in the past year on our new corporate identity – something like £6.5m has been spent on refurbishing,” he says. “This year and into 2005 another £8/10m will be spent in the second phase of network redevelopment, with new builds in Leicester, the Channel Isles and major refurbishments in Pulborough, Birmingham, Cardiff and Newcastle.”
Bentley’s UK network is being integrated into Dowding’s European infrastructure, which has a common corporate identity.