KOCHI: For the first time, British car-maker Bentley conducted an auto exhibition in the city as part of its expansion plans in South India.
British Deputy High Commissioner Bharat Joshi, who was in the city to promote the expo, told Express on Thursday he considered it was his responsibility to promote the British company.
Joshi said Kerala and the UK had a long history of association as several Keralites worked in Britain. “Post-Brexit, the economy of Britain has been growing steadily. We are the fastest growing among the G20 nations. There has been an increase in British investment in India, and trade between the countries is expanding,” he said.
Bentley sales manager Amit Agrawal said Kerala is a potential market for the company. “So far, 15 Bentley cars have been sold in Kerala, and we are receiving queries from several potential customers in the state. We see South India as a potential market.
We will soon open our third Indian showroom in Hyderabad, after New Delhi and Mumbai. Bentley has sold more than 500 cars in India, and we are encouraged by the several repeat customers we get,” he said.
Bentley, which has its manufacturing unit based in Crewe near Manchester, rolls out only around 1,200 cars every year. All the units are custom-made by hand, and imported to India six months after receiving order. The price starts at Rs 3.4 crore for the base model, and the top model is priced as per the degree of customisation.
“No two Bentley cars are similar, and we offer around 110 colours to choose from. Since it is entirely handmade, Bentley models cannot be compared with other brands. As far as service is concerned, the company provides flying-doctor service - the mechanic visits the owner’s residence for service,” said Amit.
The exhibition featured Bentley’s popular model Flying Spur-W12 (6-ltr twin-turbocharged W12 engine with 616 BHP and 800 NM torque) and Continental GTC-V8 (4-ltr twin-turbocharged engine with 500 BHP and 660 NM torque).
Another attraction was Bentayaga, a premium model claimed to be the fastest car, which was released in India last year. It is powered by a 6-ltr twin-turbocharged engine with 600 BHP and 900 NM torque.