DETROIT -- Volkswagen AG’s super-luxury brand Bentley revealed today the newest model of its Continental GT with the world debut of the 2012 Continental GT 4.0-liter V-8 at the Detroit auto show.
The sporty looking V-8 will hit the market this spring. It can travel 500 miles on one tank and go from 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds, said Bentley CEO Wolfgang Duerheimer.
Duerheimer said the brand sold 37 percent more cars in 2011, including 1,059 in December, the best month since 2007 and the second best month in the history of the company.
The Crewe, England, subsidiary of the German automaker hopes to increase its global dealerships to 200 by the end of 2012 from 161 now, in part by adding five to ten dealerships in China, where it currently has 25, Duerheimer said.
Bentley, which was founded in 1919 and competes with BMW AG’s Rolls-Royce, had its best sales year in 2007 at 10,014 cars. Deliveries last year totaled 7,003 vehicles as China overtook Britain to become the brand’s second-biggest market after the United States.
Duerheimer said the carmaker plans to expand its lineup and is working heavily in the design process for an SUV concept, to be decided on in the first quarter. But he said Bentley does not see an electric vehicle in its lineup in the near future.
“We don’t think electric is right now for the luxury platform market,” he said. “The technology is not ready yet.”
In 2011, Bentley’s deliveries in the United States rose 31 percent to 1,877 cars. China sales surged 95 percent to 1,839 and mainland European sales jumped 53 percent to 1,187, Bentley said, while “challenging” conditions in Britain held back growth there to 5 percent, to 1,031.