2012 Bentley Continental

Bentley plans to double annual sales by 2017 - Find out how

Though the luxury car company sold just over 7,000 vehicles last year, Bentley has its sights set on 15,000 in annual sales in just 5 years.

Bentley CEO Wolfgang Duerheimer announced that the automaker hopes to double its annual sales by 2017, with help from wealthy Chinese buyers, a rebounding U.S. economy and new market expansion. Duerheimer, who made the comments to Automotive News Europe, also claimed that China is poised to overtake America as Bentley’s largest sales region by year’s end. Duerheimer has been Bentley’s CEO for one year and is the former head of Porsche R&D.

"We are currently experiencing a boom in China, where our sales almost doubled to 1,839 vehicles in 2011. That made China Bentley's second-largest single market. It will likely advance into the No. 1 spot this year," said Duerheimer.

According to Duerheimer, Bentley has set an annual sales goal of 15,000 vehicles five years from now. The objective seems a bit lofty since Bentley sold just 7,003 vehicles last year, but the British car company believes it is achievable. Aside from China, Duerheimer is banking on increased American sales as well. Duerheimer told Automotive News Europe: "I am assuming a robust, double-digit growth for 2012. I expect growth of more than 10 percent for Bentley in China and the United States in 2012."

An annual sales figure of 15,000 would dwarf Bentley’s all-time yearly sales record of 10,014, which was accomplished in 2007. Though 2007 marked a peak for Bentley, the luxury carmaker was deeply affected by the 2008 global economic crisis. Bentley experienced a 24.1 percent drop in 2008, selling a total of 7, 605 units.

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