Ultra Luxury Sedan Priced At £500,000 (US$776,500) In Europe
Currently focused on inland Chinese expansion, the British ultra-luxury automaker Bentley is set to debut its limited-edition Zagato collaboration in China, setting aside two customized vehicles out of nine globally for the Asian market. As China Car Times reports this week, Zagato — the 92-year-old Milanese automotive and design firm — worked closely with the Bentley team in Crewe, England to develop the new sedan, with each interior panel hand-crafted by Zagato’s craftsmen, some of whom are fourth-generation coach builders. UK pricing for the Bentley Zagato has been set at £500,000 (US$776,500), though pricing for the China market is expected to be far higher and — considering only one will make its way to the country — competition is likely to be fierce.
Though demand for luxury cars is showing signs of slowing somewhat in China at the mid- to premium range, the ultra-luxury segment seems to be largely unscathed, particularly for limited-edition models. As Jing Daily noted earlier this year, Aston Martin sold all five of the One-77s the automaker had set aside at the Shanghai Auto Show before doors opened to the public. Since then, other automakers like Bentley have dug in their heels in China, particularly in second- and third-tier cities, with Bentley launching dealerships in cities like Xi’an, Wenzhou, and Zhengzhou.
For its part, Rolls-Royce recently unveiled a China-only “Year of the Dragon” edition, featuring hand-embroidered dragon headrests and inlaid gold accents. In October, British ultra-luxury automaker Lotus made its debut in the China market, launching its inaugural showroom on Beijing’s Gongti Bei Lu. But perhaps nowhere in inland Chinese has seen such an influx of ultra-luxury automakers as Chongqing. This year alone, Lamborghini and Brabus opened dealerships in the sprawling municipality, following the lead of relative “early adopters” such as Ferrari and Maserati, with Aston Martin and Rolls-Royce opening soon after. Now we’ll have to see if the wide-scale dealership expansions seen in 2011 sowed the seeds of success or overcapacity in 2012.