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Bentley CEO retreats on ‘aggressive’ sales forecasts

Wolfgang Dürheimer, Bentley CEO retreats on 'aggressive' sales forecasts

Bentley expects to increase deliveries this year by less than previously forecast, CEO Wolfgang Duerheimer said today.

Duerheimer said that previous sales estimates had been “too aggressive,” declining to be more specific.

“I still predict double-digit [sales volume] growth in 2014,” Duerheimer said, adding that the first half of the year’s 61 percent sales growth in China, Bentley’s second-biggest market, was always going to be difficult to maintain.

The crisis in Ukraine and Russia would also have an impact, Duerheimer said.

Though the carmaker has not made public its previous production forecast, it has said it expected sales to reach 15,000 in 2018, including a new SUV that Bentley plans to launch in 2016.

Earlier this month, Bentley reported six-month global deliveries rose 23 percent to 5,254, compared with 4,279 in the first half year of 2013, putting the ultraluxury carmaker on course for another year of record sales.

Bentley, owned by Volkswagen Group since 1998, posted an operating profit of 168 million euros last year, up 67 percent from 2012, the highest result in the manufacturer’s 95-year history.

Duerheimer, who took the helm at Bentley on June 1, also said that about 700 of Bentley’s 3,700 workers at a factory in Crewe, central England, would not work on Fridays for several weeks in the fourth quarter to reflect the projected cut in volumes on the Continental model line.