Bentley has surpassed all sales expectations for 2006, selling a staggering 3,856 vehicles in the US alone, easily beating its main rivals Maybach and Rolls-Royce. Its lineup includes the GT coupe and GTC convertible, the Flying Spur sedan, as well as the older Arnage and Azure models. However, most of the sales were the Continental coupes and sedans, and as for as most people are concerned Bentley is the Continental GT. Unfortunately, in the case of exclusive luxury marques, larger volumes can actually hurt the brand in the long run. Promoting the brand name and image, products and prices is a difficult balancing act, and sadly it appears Bentley is losing its appeal with the super-rich, which puts it on level with brands that were previously a tier below.

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.