Bentley bumps up future product schedule, new Continental GT may come next year

Bentley Continental GTC: Staying one step ahead of the Kardashians. (Go faster! Go faster! They're gaining!)

Bentley Continental GTC: Staying one step ahead of the Kardashians. (Go faster! Go faster! They're gaining!)

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While some industry analysts are predicting that the auto market will not recover until 2011 or 2012, Bentley is certain that its customer base will be ready to buy again as early as next year. In fact, the luxury British brand is so confident in this prediction that it’s bumping up its release dates for its future product cycle by around half a year - meaning that the replacement for the popular Bentley Continental GT may be arriving as early as next year.

Moving production ahead is a bold move, but jumping the gun doesn't seem to be an issue at Bentley, which is confident that it will see a recovery in 2010. The information comes from the carmaker’s board member for sales and marketing, Stuart McCullough, who explained to Automotive News that capitalizing on this recovery will be important, and "coming out of the dip is when new models will pay off".

While the next-generation Bentley Continental GT coupe is now likely to arrive by next year, it will be followed soon enough by replacements for the Continental Flying Spur four-door sedan, as well as the obligatory GTC convertible variant. Also due next year is a replacement for the Arnage, which is expected to bow in as a new super-luxury model towards the end of the year.

Bentley's plans will place a great deal of weight on emerging markets such as China, the Middle-East and Russia, as well as returning customers from previously vital markets such as the U.S. market. Last year, sales for Bentley in the U.S. fell by close to one-third. The first quarter for this year was even worse, with sales down by over two-thirds compared to the same period last year - not exactly a good sign for a recovery predicted as early as next year.

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