Volkswagen's British subsidiary Bentley is taking a close look at its 150-strong global dealer network.
"We have to talk about consolidation at this point," said brand chief Franz-Josef Paefgen.
As a result of the auto crisis, Bentley is now facing an "array of difficult business relationships," he said. But dealers will be "brought back on their feet, for the most part," he said.
Bentley sales have fallen, especially in North America and Europe. Last year, the ultraluxury brand sold 4,600 vehicles, down 40 percent compared to 2008. The brand lost 194 million euros ($262 million) last year, compared to a profit of 10 million euros the previous year.
"Bentley has reacted with determination and adjusted production capacity to the lower sales," said VW CEO Martin Winterkorn.
Paefgen is pinning his hopes on the boom market in China, where Bentley intends to quickly expand its dealer base. New models, such as the Continental Supersports Convertible presented at the Geneva auto show earlier this month, are expected to give the brand a crucial push.
"As soon as the economic outlook bounces back, we'll see major increases in the premium segment," Winterkorn said. "Bentley is well prepared for them."