Combined North American sales of Rolls-Royce and Bentley motor cars for the first half of 2000 have increased more than 27 percent over the same period last year. The second half performance follows a strong first quarter, with the main focus attributed to the success of the Bentley Arnage Red Label.

For the first half of 2000, Bentley sales have improved by 33 percent over the first half of 1999, driven by the popularity of the Red Label. More than 60 percent of Red Labels sold have been conquest sales, bringing more new buyers to the Bentley marque.

Rolls-Royce sales, fuelled by the launch of the new Corniche convertible also grew strongly in the first half. Rolls-Royce sales are up by 17 percent over 1999.

The President of Rolls-Royce and Bentley Motor Cars, Alasdair Stewart, said: "The two new models have allowed us to do two things. First, the Red Label Arnage has driven up both visibility and interest in Bentley, enabling us to build a sound customer base for the brand, as we begin work on the new range of motor cars we plan to begin launching in 2003."

"Secondly, the Corniche has helped grow overall Rolls-Royce sales. The Silver Seraph sedan is enjoying sustained interest, and we have had significant enquiry for the larger Park Ward saloon, since its launch at this year's Geneva Auto Salon."

Mr. Stewart also said he anticipated continuing strong sales for the Red Label Arnage as its reputation grows, and that recent statements by BMW about its plans for Rolls-Royce has calmed the market, building buyer confidence in Silver Seraph ownership.