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Friday, January 23, 2009

Bentley Halts Production amidst global economic malaise

Bentley Continental GT

CREWE, England — Citing "continued low demand," Bentley said it is halting production at its factory here for several weeks in the spring.

"The Continental line will stop for a period of seven weeks and the Arnage range line will stop for a period of six weeks," said Bentley's U.S. spokesman David Reuter in an email Thursday to Inside Line. "The decision to reduce production volumes has been taken because our latest figures from (late) 2008 demonstrate continued low demand and forecasts suggest this will also be the case in early 2009."

The shutdown will begin in March and last until April.

Reuter added: "But we are maintaining our investment levels in new product development, the benefits of which will begin to be seen later this year."

Earlier this month, Bentley said it sold 7,604 vehicles worldwide in 2008. Its U.S. arm has been particularly hard hit, with sales down around 32 percent to 2,863. The Associated Press on Thursday reported that the British auto industry has been hammered by the global financial crisis. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders in Britain said vehicle production slumped by nearly half in December from the same month in 2007.

Inside Line says: Bentley is not immune to the woes of the global auto industry, as declining demand forces it to take some tough measures