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Bentley focusses Down Under

On a roll: Bentley sold a record 138 vehicles in 2007.

Bentley casts a closer eye on Australia with a dedicated regional sales office

Bentley logo27 May 2008

BENTLEY Motors has created a new regional head office for Australia and New Zealand, decentralising its Singapore-based Asia-Pacific operations to become closer to specific markets in the region.

Although the Volkswagen-owned British luxury marque is operating out of Volkswagen Group Australia’s headquarters in Botany, Sydney, Bentley Motors regional manager Ed Striebig told GoAuto this week that these were for “reasons of practicality” with no reporting structure into VGA.

“The operational management for the region has now been, if you like, devolved out into the various markets,” Mr Striebig explained, adding that in addition to the new team Down Under an office had been established Beijing, China, and in South Korea (handling that market and South-East Asian markets such as Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and Singapore).

“We’re a lot closer to the markets now in terms of operational management and also in planning and delivering marketing activities.

“The benefit is in proximity to the actual marketplace and the ability to operate either within the same time zone or within reason of the same time zone, to minimise obviously travel time and just to be in a position to spend more time with the dealers, understanding their businesses better and developing with them more tailored marketing activities and plans for their local areas,” he said.

 center imageLeft: Bentley Motors regional manager Ed Striebig.

Having worked for Bentley Motors for the past eight years in the UK, most recently as franchise manager, Mr Striebig is responsible for operational and strategic management of this region which includes dealer and media relations, and sales and marketing.

He reports to Bentley’s Asia Pacific chief Tim Mackinlay, who has responsibility for China, Japan, SE Asia and Australasia and in turn reports to worldwide operations director Geoff Dowding – the former managing director of a number of key Bentley regions (including the UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa), who last year had his role expanded further to include the US and Asia.

The Australian regional office comprises Mr Striebig, aftersales and technical manager Geoff Wright (who has moved from VGA) and regional co-ordinator Ian Churchill. It has not been established as a separate legal entity – Bentley Motors Australia, for example – but is simply operating as an office of Bentley Motors Limited in the UK.

Bentley currently has six dealerships in Australia – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, the Gold Coast Adelaide and Perth – and two in New Zealand, namely Auckland and Christchurch.

Mr Striebig said he was confident Bentley would maintain its current sales performance – it sold a record 138 in 2007 – with the limited-issue (550 worldwide) $660,000 Brooklands coupe launched earlier this year (the first of two cars ordered to date in Australia, and two in New Zealand, being delivered next month) and the 2009 Model Year range of Continental models, the first of which should reach showrooms in October.

“We are confident that launch is going to go well for us, and then it’s a question really about the logistics of how many cars we will actually get into the region before the end of the year,” Mr Striebig said.

“We will always strive to build one less car than demand worldwide. We did have a record year last year – we produced and sold just over 10,000 cars – we have no plans at this stage to increase that beyond that figure, and depending on the demand that is generated here in the marketplace, there is no issue with supply to satisfy that demand. Our challenge is in generating the demand.”

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