Statement by Wolfgang Dürheimer, Chairman and Chief Executive, Bentley Motors
International Motor Show (IAA) 2011
13 September 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, Germany
Dr. Piëch, Frau Piëch, Professor Winterkorn, Members of the Board of the Volkswagen Group and Brands, ladies and gentlemen.
Welcome to Bentley Motors.
Welcome to the World Launch of the new Bentley Continental GTC.
quality, striking and contemporary design, unparalleled craftsmanship and unrivalled comfort, combined with breathtaking performance. These are the key features we at Bentley have developed to make the best convertible in the world even better.
Sharper lines, striking front headlamps and an upright mesh grille give this open-topped four-seater its muscular appearance. Thanks to its self-assured design, the GTC will attract attention wherever it goes. I am certain of that.
The carefully hand-crafted interior is also unmistakeably Bentley. A comprehensive range of exquisite wood veneers, cool-touch metals and sumptuous hides allow the interior to be adapted to suit your own style and taste in a way which cannot be matched elsewhere.
We have also improved the excellent everyday practicality of this luxury convertible – with added legroom in the rear and innovative touches in equipment such as the new neck warmer feature, which ensures comfort whenever the hood is down and whatever the temperature. When closed, the tailor-made, multi-layer fabric hood ensures Bentley’s much admired open-top elegance is retained.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Above all, the new Bentley GTC has been developed with the same key principle in mind – creating a vehicle that is simply a pleasure to drive. Our Bentley engineers in Crewe were faced with the challenge of building a luxury sports convertible, which combines the thrill of open-top motoring with breath-taking performance – whatever your mood and whatever the road.
And that is exactly what they have achieved. The wider front and rear track ensure better grip, greater stability and minimised understeer. More responsive steering and re-tuned suspension offer a first class driving experience. Bentley’s state of the art four-wheel drive system now features a 60:40 rear torque bias, which enthusiastic drivers will especially appreciate.
This impressive dynamic package is combined with the unmistakeable 567 bhp 12-cylinder twin-turbo engine and a new
QuickShift transmission, enabling faster gear changes than ever before.
The result is a unique, open-topped supercar. And the timing of this launch could not be better.
Bentley is moving forward rapidly, and the new Continental GT is the driving force behind this. This latest generation of ground-breaking Continental coupes has reinvigorated the brand, attracting an entirely new target market. Today’s world launch of the GTC Convertible provides added momentum.
We are extremely optimistic. Our target for the 2011 calendar year is global sales of 7,000 vehicles. This is equivalent to an increase of around 40% on the previous year.
After eight months, we are right on track. By the end of August, we had already delivered 4,016 vehicles to customers around the world, making it our best year so far since 2008.
One of the cornerstones of this success is the Chinese market. In the first eight months of this year, Bentley sold more than 1,000 vehicles in this region for the first time, representing growth of more than 67%. The most popular models seen on the streets of Shanghai and Beijing are our four-door vehicles, the Mulsanne and Continental Flying Spur.
Even in our largest market, the United States, we achieved growth of 36%. And in Europe, where customer confidence has been severely affected by the economic uncertainty in some markets, the future is looking brighter. In the United Kingdom our market share in the luxury segment is now more than 25%, making us the clear market leader.
Here in Germany, Bentley Motors again recorded significant growth, following a few difficult years. In the first eight months of the year, we sold two-thirds more vehicles than in the previous year.
We are looking to develop this trend further, which is why we are continuously investing in our current models. And we have no shortage of ideas for the future. The Bentley wings would sit beautifully on the bonnet of a new quintessentially British four by four vehicle. Watch this space!
Ladies and gentlemen, As you can see, Bentley is moving forwards at full speed. The new Continental GTC embodies this acceleration with its limitless pure driving pleasure. It is the perfect example of British motoring proven on the German Autobahn. This four-seat luxury convertible is yet another impressive example of Bentley’s commitment to “Luxury without limits”.