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Car of the Month

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Rolls-Royce and Bentley



Car of the Month - November 2008
Bentley Continental GT Cabriolet, 2008,
#SCBDE23W77 CO48153

Bentley Continental GT Cabriolet

To keep any information as regards new models strictly confidential as long as possible is the usual practice of motor car manufacturers. One good reason to act such is that thus none of the competitors might get any hint to tune what they consider to offer as a an attractive alternative. Another good reason is that the life-cycle of a model as per marketing-specialists' definition does start when outward appearance and vital data become known to the public. From then onward the new model’s "aging" begins. These and other arguments were neglected by Bentley when in 2004 they started to provide a full package of media information to inform about the new Bentley Continental GT Cabriolet. – Although as per the manufacturer's schedule first deliveries to the dealer network wouldn't start prior to 2006.

Bentley Continental GTC

Obviously it was an attempt by Bentley "to make a virtue of necessity". Volkswagen's 1998 take-over of Rolls-Royce and Bentley had been no clever manoeuvre. 'Top Brass'-management hadn't done their homework properly and obviously either didn't check regulations and legal situation as regards registered trademarks (gossip was even worse by assuming they had gambled). In any case their stupidly insufficient preparation in this case back-fired badly because within a short period a competitor got the registered trademark Rolls-Royce for motor cars. Thus merely the Bentley brand remained with the mainstream-model Bentley Arnage (whose 4½ litre engine - supplied by BMW – did not “peel off the rice”); in addition Volkswagen had the factory at Crewe in urgent need of new equipment and a workforce whose confidence was shaken. Concentrating major efforts on tackling the task within a short period the Bentley Arnage was up-dated to that level expected from a car of that calibre, to install the powerful 6¾-litre V8-engine under the bonnet was a major step. The tide turned with the introduction of the Bentley Continental GT with its brilliant design. The launch of the 4-door variant Bentley Continental Flying Spur followed and the model-series was completed at some later stage by the new cabriolet.

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Bentley Continental GTC

Although all the resources of a global player were available the new development did need time. It was essential not only to bridge that gap but to use any opportunity "to show the flag" and bring the image of the brand to new heights. Beside special models, e.g. the short-lived Bentley Continental SC sedanca coupe and activities such as taking part in the "24 Hours at Le Mans" competition stood the decision to start promotion for new models at a very early stage. To break the rule of not providing information on a new model until that made its debut was a calculated risk – and for Bentley it did the trick. Long before the new Bentley Continental GT Cabriolet became available the company had full order books and clients had to accept that a "Waiting List" existed. It is fair to resume that after a start spoiled by certain problems the sports car maker is - highly profitable now - on an even keel in the true sense of the word. Perhaps a future step might be to return to the rule and information on new models will not be heralded before those will be launched?

Bentley Continental GTC Dashboard

Bentley Continental GTC

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