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Bentley considering hybrids and diesels for next year's models

Until today, the only time we've used the "Bentley" tag here on AutoblogGreen it was in a story on the Top Ten worst polluting vehicles. Now, we might be using it more often, because the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) is reporting that the British luxury automaker announced in Geneva that it is considering both hybrid and diesel powertrains for future models. Bentley will decide later this year.

The original FAZ article is in German and, since I can't find a translation in English anywhere, I'll give you my own:

The Volkswagen-connected luxury mark Bentley is considering installing diesel and hybrid engines next year's models as a way to transform the company's image. On top of this, Bentley wants to open new sales agencies in the USA and Europe this year, Bentley CEO Franz Josef Paefgen told Dow Jones Newswires at the Geneva Motor Show on Wednesday. Decisions concerning the new models will be made later this year.

Paefgen confirmed that Bentley is concentrating on profitability and not primarily on image change. The company plans to sell 9,000 and 10,000 automobiles annually. In 2006, Bentley sold about 9,300 automobiles. In the coming years, the CEO sees a further growth in the luxury segment range.

The US market is Bentley single largest market and makes up about 40 percent of total sales; the British market makes up 20 percent. The weak US dollar is, according to Paefgen, is a point of discussion within the company. However, the weak US dollar does not mean that Bentley would "make no more money" in the USA. As the CEO said, Bentley will be debt-free in less than five years.

[Source: FAZ via Christian at German Car Blog]

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