International sales put Bentley in the fast lane

BENTLEY, the iconic luxury car brand has reported strong financial results with a big surge in operating profits underpinned by a 29.9% leap in turnover.

Taking something of the gloss off the results though were reports that the hotly-anticipated Bentley SUV, may not be made at the factory in Crewe, Cheshire, but in Bratislava, in Slovakia.

The 94-year-old manufacturer, part of Germany’s Volkswagen group refused to be drawn on the comments made by chief executive Wolfgang Schreiber to the Guardian.

A spokesperson said: “No final decision on where the model will be built has been made. The case for Crewe is extremely strong though.”

There have been around 2,000 expressions of interests in the brand’s first 4×4 model, which will potentially go into production in 2015-16 and be priced at around £125,000.

Reporting its 2012 financial results Bentley said turnover had risen 29.9% to €1.453bn (£1.236bn) driven by new models such as the Continental GT and GTC V8.

Operating profit rocketed more than tenfold from €8m (£6.8m) to €100.5m (£85.5bn)

The company shipped 8,510 cars last year, with America its top market closely followed by China.

Representing a major interantional success for British engineering, exports accounted for 87.3% of Bentley’s total turnover.

The company’s market share in the luxury segment rose by 4.9% to 20.1%.

Bentley also made a strong start to the New Year. Deliveries to customers grew by 39.5% in the first two months of 2013.

Addressing prospects for 2013 Dr Schreiber said: “With the new Flying Spur due to arrive with customers in the middle of the year, we expect to see a double digit growth rate for the rest of 2013.”

The group said 40 new showrooms would be opened this year – it currently has 173 dealerships in 50 countries.