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Who Won, Who Lost in Last Month's Sales?
Spring is here and the U.S. automotive market saw its overall sales rise six percent in March, shaking off the slow start to 2014.
Compared to 2013, the seasonally adjusted sales rate has grown from 15.3-million units in 2013 to 16.4-million units and is the best showing since November 2013, and among the highest in the past seven years. But the big question is, who were the winners and losers for March 2014 compared to the year past? You might be surprised to see which automakers have grown in sales and which have taken a significant hit in comparison to the same period 12 months ago.
In a world where gas prices and fuel consumption are the biggest issues on the average consumer’s mind, British luxury automaker Bentley is insisting on using V8 and V12 engines without a hint of concern.
“We still offer V-12s and are the biggest producer of V-12 engines in the world,” Bentley chief operating officer Christophe Georges said.
That might seem like a foolhardy mentality, but the company’s sales numbers would beg to differ. Already this quarter, U.S. Bentley sales are up 40 percent. Not only that, but despite being the traditionally largest market for the British luxury cars, American purchases were overtaken — by China.
Bentley is aiming high with its proposed goal of doubling annual sales by 2017. The English luxury automaker has a long road ahead, but will be helped by the U.S. resurgence in car sales and especially by the boom in China.
“I am assuming a robust, double-digit growth for 2012. I expect growth of more than 10 percent for Bentley in China and the United States in 2012,” said Bentley CEO Wolfgang Duerheimer. In 2011, Bentley’s American sales grew 32 percent while the companies Chinese sales almost doubled.
Bentley is also hinging on its new SUV to help grow sales into a new untapped market. Trying to stay conservative, the company is predicting annual sales of the new SUV to start at the 3,500 mark.
New markets will be a large factor for Bentley to achieve its goals, with Russia, India, and South America all being discussed as potential growth areas. Mainland Europe will be targeted heavily as last year Bentley sold almost as many cars in the UK alone as it did in all of mainland Europe.
The latest developments in the Chinese market tell us that sales in China are slowing down and the Chinese government is trying to make it harder for foreign automakers to succeed in their country. These anti-foreign cars measures will no doubt have some affect on Bentley, but we can’t tell how much of a problem it will pose.