One In Four Bentleys Sold Worldwide Now Goes To A Chinese Buyer
Currently in the midst of an expansion effort that will see the British automaker increase its dealer network in China by one-third over the course of 2011, this week Bentley opened its first dealership in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province. Famed for the entrepreneurial nature of its residents and emigrants alike, Wenzhou boasts one of the highest per-capita GDPs in China, and wealthy Wenzhounese have developed something of a reputation throughout the country as profligate materialists. Still, for all their bluster and flash, Wenzhou locals have emerged as reliable, loyal customers to many of the world’s top luxury and wine labels, so it’s almost surprising that Bentley’s waited so long to enter this particular market.
According to NetEase, the new 800 square meter Wenzhou dealership — Bentley’s 14th in China — will stock the Mulsanne, the new Continental GT (which debuted at this year’s Shanghai Auto Show) and the limited-edition Continental Flying Spur China. This weekend’s grand opening ceremony was attended by David Lumley-Wood, Bentley’s global dealer network development chief, Bentley Greater China manager David McIntyre, and Bill Cheng, general manager of Bentley China. At the ceremony, McIntyre noted that Bentley’s sales in the Greater China region over the course of the first half of this year have risen 57 percent over the same period last year, while those in mainland China have gone up 66 percent.
NetEase adds that Bentley expects to hit double-digit growth targets over the remainder of the year, with year-end sales expected to handily surpass last year’s 815. As of last month, Bentley had sold 623 vehicles in mainland China, overtaking the UK to make China Bentley’s second-largest market after the United States. Following up the launch of Bentley’s new Wenzhou dealership, the automaker plans to open four additional dealerships in mainland China by the end of 2011.