Rolls-Royce and Bentley Target China Market in New Deal

British luxury carmakers Rolls-Royce and Bentley Thursday signed an historic deal with a Hong Kong dealership to sell cars in Chinese mainland.

The deal was signed in a major Beijing hotel between Rolls-Royce and Bentley Motor Cars Ltd, a subsidiary of Germany manufacturer Volkswagen, and Dah Chong Hong Ltd, the sole distributor of both marks in the mainland and Hong Kong.

Under the deal a company called Bentley China will be set up, opening regional offices in Beijing, eastern Shanghai and southern Guangzhou with show rooms, after-sales service and repair centres.

Only 120 Rolls-Royce and Bentleys currently ply the roads of the world's most populous nation.

But chief executive for Rolls-Royce and Bentley, Tony Gott, told a press conference that Bentley was counting on its mid-sized Bentley (MSB) to be launched in 2003 to boost sales in China.

"With the introduction of MSB, we would expect to double our sales in Hong Kong to 100 cars a year. The potential in the mainland, we believe is even greater, but we must start work now to ensure that we are in a position to realise the potential."

The luxury cars cost between 149,000 to 250,000 pounds (US$212,000 to US$356,000) and the company is initially targetting five-star hotels, entrepreneurs and operators of fleets for state guests.

"Entrepreneurs are now welcome and applauded in China, creating a new class of customer who can afford the best the world has to offer," added Kenneth Tsang, managing director of Bentley China.

People's Daily Online ---