Bentley wants a piece of Aston Martin's sports car business. It's testing the waters with a two-seat concept coupe that has received acclaim on the auto show circuit, says Wolfgang Duerheimer, CEO of Bentley.
The car with the complicated name -- EXP 10 Speed 6 -- is being seriously considered for production, Duerheimer said. It would be priced similarly to the Continental range.
Duerheimer wants to expand the Bentley range beyond the Continental's three-car lineup, the full-size Mulsanne and the new Bentayga crossover, which is due next year. He envisions Bentley having one or two additional models, giving it at least six vehicles and global sales of 15,000 by 2018, up from a record 11,020 last year.
Duerheimer, 56, is an industry veteran who returned from Audi to run Bentley and Bugatti in June. He had been CEO of Volkswagen Group-owned Bentley and Bugatti from 2011 to 2012.
One of his first moves after returning was to revive Bentley's two-seat coupe and large convertible projects.
The coupe is high on the list of new models. Last month during the New York auto show, Bentley set up a studio for five days in New York's hip Meatpacking District to show the coupe and other models to certain customers and potential conquests. About 1,500 went through the studio, meeting with designers and representatives from the factory in Crewe, England, and tinkering with Bentley's car configurator.
The coupe also went to the Shanghai show in late April and then to the Middle East before coming home to the UK. Duerheimer said the final evaluation will be made in the fourth quarter and approval is expected next year.
Bentley also is working on a car based on the Grand Convertible concept shown in November at the Los Angeles show. The car is a two-door version of the range-topping Mulsanne sedan. Duerheimer provided no timing for its launch but said he was "fairly optimistic" that the large open-top car would be built.