- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 4, 2016

The economy may be slumping in the face of weak oil prices, a falling ruble and Western sanctions, but the appetite of Russian buyers for the super-upscale Bentley has moved into the fast lane.

While some other luxury auto brands have suffered, Bentley sales in the nation have soared almost 50 percent in the first half of the year, according to a report Thursday in the English-language Moscow Times.

Some 153 Bentleys were sold in country, compared to 103 sold between January and June last year. That’s a 48.5 percent increase, the newspaper said, citing a report by the motoring analytics company Avtostat.

The boom for the British-made Bentley comes after a rocky couple of months.

In April, Russia’s Kommersant newspaper reported that luxury car makers such as Bentley, Lamborghini and Ferrari may be forced out of the domestic market due to new proposals that require cars to adopt a locally-made emergency response systems.

Both the European Business Association and the Volkswagen Group — which includes Bentley, Porsche, and Lamborghini — have appealed to the government to halt these proposals. The cost of the safety systems would exceed their sales return due to the cars’ exclusive nature and low customer numbers, the companies argue.

The ultra-luxury SUV Bentley Bentayga, the company’s first SUV, was among the company’s most popular models. Russians bought 63 SUVs, priced around $278,000 each.

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