Record sales for Bentley may dilute the brandEnlarge Photo
According to Automotive News, sales were up 5.5% for Bentley over its 2005 figure, and this was more than four times as much as Rolls’ global sales figure of just 805 cars, while Maybach managed only 146 sales in the US last year. The key reason for the sales numbers is due to price, the Continental GT coupe and Continental Flying Spur sedan sell for roughly half the price of a Maybach 57 or Rolls-Royce Phantom. However, Bentley exec Stuart McCullough believes money is not the issue, claiming that customers choose the Bentley because they find the Rolls-Royce Phantom too ostentatious, while the Maybach looks too much like a Mercedes.
The number of consumers who can afford ultra-luxury vehicles is on the rise but Bentley doesn’t need to advertise, nor should it. With this level of sales, Bentley is on the verge of losing significant brand-cachet. Numerous reviews have derided the Continental GT for being little more than a VW Phaeton with a bigger engine, while most critics have applauded BMW's hands-off approach with Rolls Royce.