CREWE, England -- Bentley could manufacture left-hand drive versions of its new Continental GT four-door sedan at parent Volkswagen's assembly plant in Dresden, Germany.
Ulrich Eichhorn, the VW board member in charge of engineering at Bentley, said that if results of an internal analysis show that such a step would make sense economically for both Bentley and the VW group, "then we will start an additional final assembly in Dresden."
The slow-selling VW Phaeton upper-premium sedan is the only model being built at the state-of-the-art Dresden plant, which opened in 2001.
Meanwhile, the Continental GT coupe has been a success, nearly matching the Phaeton's sales in western Europe.
The addition of the four-door Continental GT has led to worries that Bentley's main plant in Crewe, England, which also builds the Arnage, won't be able to keep pace with orders.
To minimize waiting times for the new sedan, due in 2005, Bentley is considering manufacturing in Dresden because the four- and two-door versions of the Continental GT share the Phaeton's platform.
Eichhorn said that if the four-door Continental GT is built in Germany, components for the car will be supplied by the Crewe plant.
"This would not be a long-term solution but it could help to handle large orders for a certain period of time," Eichhorn said. "Manufactur-ing left-hand drive versions of the new sedan there, for example, would be an obvious choice."
He said that it is possible for Bentley to produce 10,000 units a year.
"However," Eichhorn said, "it is our principle to always build one car less than needed.
He said Bentley manufactured 4,400 units of the Continental GT coupe between January and September and sold about 450 units of its top model, the Arnage series, during the first nine months.
"In the new year, we will also be selling a significant number of the new four door," he said.
The sedan version will debut at the Geneva auto show in March 2005. The car will have the same engine as the coupe, a 560hp W-12.