ALASDAIR STEWART, CEO of Rolls-Royce and Bentley Motor Cars Inc., needs to create a distinct image for Bentley once the sibling brands become rivals January 1. Stewart, 38, has been CEO of the US sales and marketing subsidiary since December 1998. Reporter Jim Henry interviewed him last month.
Summarize your marketing efforts in the last two years.
We have been working hard to get the Bentley brand positioned clearly in the United States - and separate from Rolls-Royce. There is still a lot of confusion between Bentley and Rolls-Royce.
How do you accomplish that?
We call it the five pillars of Bentley: design, craft, power, driving and racing. By racing, I mean the return to LeMans [where Bentley placed third in 2001].
Does Bentley have a distinct image from Rolls-Royce?
In the UK that's true. But it is probably an equal challenge in markets outside the UK as it is in the USA.
Is the segment getting crowded?
Something like 22 to 25 new entries in the over-$80,000 (84,000) segment in the next five years. Besides Maserati, there are new Jaguars, new offerings from Audi, Porsche and Ferrari. Besides Maybach, Mercedes also has the SLR. And of course, Rolls-Royce. There are a slew of people putting new product in that market.