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Bentley bullish on long-term prospects in Chinese market

By Li Fusheng | China Daily | Updated: 2019-07-22 10:31
Bentley expects sales in China to rise in 2020 as new models are released. [Photo by Han Xu/For China Daily]

Bentley Motors is confident about its long-term prospects in China despite a flat market in 2019, according to a senior executive at the British luxury carmaker.

Kim Airey, managing director of Bentley in the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Macao, said the company has not seen a rise in orders this year because customers are waiting for the new models to come.

He made the remarks when the British carmaker celebrated its 100th anniversary in early July.

Airey said the situation so far is in line with the company's expectations but added that it will start to turn for the better.

Brand new and revamped models are arriving soon, including the new Flying Spur, one of the marque's best-selling models in China, and all of them are now open to orders.

He said Bentley is scheduled to deliver cars such as the new Continental GT starting from the end of 2019 and thus expects an increase of sales in 2020.

"We are keen to send the cars because our customers are waiting," said Airey.

Entering China in 2002, Bentley is the most popular luxury auto brand in the country. It had seen double-digit growth in China for the past three years in a row.

In 2018, it delivered some 2,200 vehicles in the country, accounting for around 21 percent of its global sales.

Airey said he expects China to outperform the United States at some time in the future to become the brand's largest market globally.

Bentley's models have been well-received in China. Its Bentayga SUV has proven very popular, Airey said, adding he believed there is further potential for the segment and the carmaker is offering different variants of the model.

For example, the plug-in hybrid Bentayga is expected to hit the Chinese market starting from 2020, which also marks Bentley's first step toward electrification.

Earlier this year, Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark said all Bentley models will be available in electrified versions by 2025.

Other models, including the China-oriented long-wheelbase Mulsanne sedan, have been warmly received as well.

Airey said Bentley is also organizing a series of campaigns in different cities of the country for test drives.

He said Bentley owners in China, which are the youngest compared to other markets, love trying out new things.

The carmaker is expanding its sales network in the country, with dealerships expected to grow by 15 percent this year, most of them in second-tier cities.

Bentley currently has 37 dealerships in the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Macao.

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