BENTLEYS IN BEIJING
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Wed, Sep 29, 2010
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Proof that the world is changing (in case you hadn't already noticed...) “Paris has played a significant role in Bentley’s history and is set to do so again with the new Continental GT making its official public debut at the prestigious Mondial de l’Automobile.” Usually, I would have given this press release about as much notice as I do all the others that one is bombarded with in the run-up to a major auto show (Paris). I scrolled down to see what the MSRP would be for the various markets prior to clicking 'delete'. Then, I felt the paradigm shift. There, right between the Euro and the Yen was a price quoted in Renminbi. The initial question is, "how many units does Bentley expect to sell in China, or as it is officially known in English, the Peoples' Republic of China?" Well, this was probably not just a boastful sort of press release. Volkswagen (Bentley's owner) has a long history in China, producing its first car there in Shanghai back in 1985. The VW group in China sells 14 brands of vehicles, manufactured in a dozen factories, and has about an 18 percent share of the market—the largest foreign manufacturer in China, by far. This is sort of a deja vu moment for me, as I think back to a cold wintry morning several years ago when I stood on a street corner in Beijing waiting for a light to change. I was struck by the number of BMWs and Benzes that drove by. At the time, I wondered, "who the hell is buying these cars?" Imported cars are taxed at 100 percent, and at that time, Bimmer and Merc (as the Brits like to call them) did not have any factories in China. The home grown luxury cars at that time were VW Passats and Buicks (go figure). Back then, I chalked it up to the effect of Deng Xiaoping's (admittedly apocryphal) utterance, "to get rich is glorious." Fast forward to the present time, and whether he said it or not, Deng may be smiling somewhere. - Bill Wright
2011 CONTINENTAL GT PRICING POUNDS STERLING: £135,760 US DOLLARS: $189,900 MSRP EUROS: €154, 600 RENMINBI: ¥3,500,000 YEN: ¥24,150,000 The 2011 Continental GT will be at the Paris Show (2-18 October), Stand 112, Hall 4, Porte de Versailles. For further information about the car, visit ContinentalGT.com.