Bentley eyes ultra-exclusive segment

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IOL mot pic jan14 Exclusive Bentleys 1 . Bentley sees a market for limited-edition car among customers who place a premium on scarcity.

Detroit motor show - British luxury brand Bentley sees a market for ultra limited-edition vehicles that appeal to clients who place a premium on scarcity.

Kevin Rose, board member for sales, said on Monday that Bentley had not made a decision on whether to build such a vehicle but was keenly observing competitors who build cars costing more than $1 million (R10.7 million), such as Aston Martin, which built the one-77, or Lamborghini which built the Veneno.

Rose said in an interview at the Detroit motor show: “There is a trend toward greater individualisation and collectibles, a limited run of a particular model.

“We think there is room for one or two models or derivatives which take us into those categories,” he said, adding that Bentley had not taken any decisions on whether to go ahead and produce such a vehicle.

“The reason for choosing them is not purely functionality.”

Rose pointed out that exclusivity was a strong selling point that had helped push demand for mechanically similar products in other industries, such as luxury watches.

“Watches and cars do bear some comparison.”

Bentley also wants to win over new clients by entering new segments such as the sport utility vehicle market, which the British automaker plans to enter in 2016.

Bentley chief executive Wolfgang Schreiber said on Monday: “It's targeting customers we currently don't talk to.”

Schreiber said the company saw potential for annual sales of at least 3000 SUVs. After unveiling an SUV concept, he said, Bentley received 2000 orders for the vehicle, even though it had not yet decided whether to put it into production or what it would cost. - Reuters

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