* Previous estimates "too aggressive" -CEO
* Production of Continental line to be slowed in the autumn
* Still expects increase in record full-year sales, revenue
(Adds detail, background)
LONDON, July 24 Luxury carmaker Bentley, part of
Germany's Volkswagen, expects to increase sales
volumes this year by less than previously forecast, Chief
Executive Wolfgang Duerheimer said on Thursday.
Duerheimer, who took the helm at Bentley on June 1, told
reporters in London that previous estimates had proved to be too
"Maybe the forecast from last year and the beginning of this
year was too aggressive, but I still predict double-digit (sales
volume) growth in 2014," he said, adding that the first half of
the year's 61 percent sales growth in China, Daimler's
second-biggest market, was always going to be difficult to
Bentley had said that 2014 was on course to be the brand's
best year after first-half sales rose by almost a quarter to
5,254 saloons, coupes and convertibles, thanks to demand from
China and the Middle East.
Though the carmaker has not made public its previous
production forecast, it has said it expected sales to reach
15,000 in 2018, including a new sport-utility vehicle that
Bentley plans to launch in 2016.
Factors behind the lowering of expectations for this year
include a smaller increase in demand from China and the impact
from the crisis in Ukraine and Russia, Duerheimer said.
But the former R&D chief at VW's Audi and Porsche premium
divisions, now in his second stint at Britain-based Bentley,
said that full-year volumes, turnover and profit would still be
up on 2013, which saw the carmaker post the highest sales and
profit in its 95-year history.
Duerheimer said that about 700 of Bentley's 3,700 workers at
a factory in Crewe, central England, would not work on Fridays
for several weeks from the autumn until Christmas to reflect the
projected cut in volumes on the Continental model line.
(Reporting by Costas Pitas, Writing by Andreas Cremer; Editing
by Kirsti Knolle and David Goodman)