Today Bentley Motors announces its 47th U.S. dealership and its third in Texas. Bentley Austin, which will ultimately provide both sales and service in the hill country of Austin, Tex., is set to open its doors onto Research Boulevard in early April. It will be owned and operated by John Eagle Dealerships.
An odd move, perhaps, given Bentley's sales nosedive of 24.1 percent in 2008 (compared to estranged sibling Rolls-Royce's massive 20 percent gain last year). But Austin, Texas has long been a locus of considerable wealth and economic growth; not long ago, Forbes placed the city third on its list of the 10 most recession-proof cities in America. And despite the stormy economy, Austin was proud to post an annual growth rate "just shy of 1 percent" for 2008 according to site bizjournals.com.
But let's be clear - Austin is not immune to the realities of recession. The city's unemployment rate rose to 6.4 percent for January 2009 (up from 5.7 percent in December '08).
Said Sonny Morgan, Retailer Principal for Bentley Austin, "the demand for ultra-luxury goods in this region has exploded in the last several years and I expect Texans to fully appreciate the craftsmanship, quality and performance that Bentley automobiles have to offer." They may appreciate the marque's vehicles, but will Austin's denizens vote with their dollars?