Even the most inexperienced New York City chauffeur is aware that Bentley is the symbol for luxury. Known mostly for manufacturing sedans for heads of state and executives, the brand has recently announced that it will begin to produce an SUV, set to hit the market in 2016.
"Bentley fans all around the world are looking forward to the brand's first SUV," said Martin Winterkorn, the CEO of Volkswagen — Bentley's parent company — in a statement. "Together we will make this new Bentley another true Bentley – powerful, exclusive and successful."
The decision by Bentley to make an SUV continues the evolution of the ultra-luxury car market. After Porsche's Cayenne SUV began to account for over half of the sports car company's annual sales, other brands began to follow suit and develop vehicles other than coupes and sedans. According to Reuters, Lamborghini and Maserati plan to release SUVs by 2017, and the Land Rover brand is developing models to compete in the ultra-luxury market.
Priced at $200,000, Bentley says that it anticipates annual sales of the SUV to be between 3,000 and 4,000 units. Bloomberg News states that the company will be following Porsche's model and using the SUV to double the company's sales, potentially getting 15,000 total vehicles to customers by 2018. To meet this goal, they plan on engaging in aggressive marketing in areas like China and Russia where there is a growing class of wealthy consumers.
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