Bentley India operations expected to transition under Skoda Volkswagen Group

To happen by early 2025. New Bentley dealer to be appointed in the South
The India exclusive 'Opulence edition' is limited to 5 cars
The India exclusive 'Opulence edition' is limited to 5 cars Bentley

Bentley Motors, the British luxury car manufacturer, is expected to transition to the National Sales Office of Skoda Volkswagen Group India. Bentley India currently operates via the importer Exclusive Motors with facilities in New Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad. Speaking to a select group of Indian media the headquarters in Crewe, Bentley Motors board member and acting CEO Jan-Henrik Lafrentz says, “We are too small”, in reference to volumes in India. India has in fact been identified India as, “The Biggest growth market”, and the transition to Group operations is expected to deliver synergies in terms of service, parts availability and warehousing, and homologation. 

In parallel a new dealer is expected to be appointed in the south to grow volumes and service the region. Bentley’s regional director for the region says partners with expertise in luxury car retail will be preferred. The existing dealerships in New Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad are expected to continue their sales and service operations.

Bentley is among ten brands under the Volkswagen Group, and in India both Porsche and Lamborghini operate under the Group umbrella, importing their cars and SUVs via the completely built-up route (FBU in industry parlance). It is Lamborghini’s record-breaking sales numbers, 103 units in 2023, that has put India on the map of super-luxury car manufacturers. Even Porsche India clocked a 17 per cent increase in sales to end 2023 with 914 new vehicles.

SUVs are the hot ticket in the Indian luxury car market. The majority of Lamborghinis sold in India are the Urus super-SUV and the same holds true for Porsche with the Macan and Cayenne driving growth. Bentley India sold 80 cars last year, of which over 60 per cent was the Bentayga SUV. The Bentayga Extended Wheelbase (EWB) version has a starting price of ₹6 crore. Bentley expect the Flying Spur luxury car to have strong potential in India, the long wheelbase, height-adjustable air suspension, and focus on back seat luxury being perfectly suited to the needs of Indian customers and reality of Indian roads.

To be sure, enthusiasm for Bentleys among the super-wealthy Indian clientele is strong. In the recent auction of the final W12-engined Bentleys, two of the three models were bought by an India customer. The GT C convertible was snapped up by an American buyer, else all three final-edition W12s would have found a home in Chennai! And each of those were auctioned for 1 million British pounds (₹10 crore, to which you can add approximately 160 per cent in customs duties and local taxes).

Exclusive Motors, the Indian importer, recently commissioned five special edition cars exclusively for India. The Opulence edition by Mulliner is limited to one Continental GT Speed, one Flying Spur Speed and three Bentayga EWB Azure models. Finished in Scarab Green exterior, complemented by bespoke interior colourways of Mandarin and Cumbrian Green hide, all five cars pay homage to the Indian tri-colour. And presumably all have found comfortable Indian homes.

Bentley India is expected to have a head count of three including a new brand director and specialists handling after sales and marketing. The unit will report to the regional headquarters in Dubai, similar to Porsche India that reports to Porsche Middle East based out of Dubai. Bentley India’s transition from the current importer to Skoda Volkswagen Group India is expected to happen in the next 12 to 18 months, by which time the new dealer is also expected to commence operations.

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