British luxury automobile manufacturer Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited launched its first Vietnam showroom in Hanoi on August 27, with Paul Harris – the company’s Asia-Pacific director - viewing the country as “a potential market.”

The Hanoi dealership has since distributed two deluxe cars, the VND30 billion (US$1.41 million) Phantom Oriental Sun and the VND18 billion ($845,000) Wraith coupe. Details about the buyers of both cars remain secret as per the carmaker's policy.

Bentley Motors will follow its rival in entering Vietnam, with its first dealership slated for launch in Hanoi next month.

“The new dealership will offer customers the full Bentley model range as well as after-sales service and the company’s branded luxury goods,” Bentley Motors said in a press release on Thursday.

The dealership will be located in the new district of Nam Tu Liem – a new commercial and financial center in the capital.

“We look forward to working in Hanoi and the already high level of enthusiasm for Bentley from potential customers is an encouraging starting point,” Kevin Rose, member of the Board for Sales, Marketing and After-Sales for Bentley Motors, said.

Bentley has partnered with CT-Wearnes Vietnam, which Rose said has combined an in-depth knowledge of business in Vietnam with a long and successful track record of luxury automotive retailing in the region, to oversee the upcoming Hanoi dealership.

The British car producer is making strong progress in the key Asia Pacific region, with a 49 percent rise in customer deliveries achieved in the first nine months of 2014, Rose added.

“We’re confident Bentley Hanoi will contribute to this positive performance,” he said.

Bentley Motors now has 14 authorized dealers in the Asia Pacific region and 194 worldwide operating in 55 countries.

A strong player from Italy, Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A., has also chosen Vietnam as a destination for the expansion of its dealer network across Asia Pacific.

Lamborghini officially appointed CT-Wearnes Vietnam Co Ltd as its authorized partner in Vietnam, the carmaker said in a May 27 press release.

“This will be Lamborghini's first dealership in Vietnam and will be based in Hanoi,” the document reads.

Lamborghini said customers can “expect the full Lamborghini model range, after-sales service supported by factory-trained technicians, genuine spare parts, accessories and the exclusive fashion line Collezione Automobili Lamborghini” from its Hanoi showroom.

But the Hanoi facility failed to be open on time, while economic newswire VnEconomy said on Thursday that the Lamborghini showroom should come online later this year.

Besides Rolls-Royce, Bentley, and Lamborghini, other brands such as Lexus, Audi, and Porsche are also present in Vietnam.

While consumption of luxury cars in the Southeast Asian country is still small, the interest of ‘upper-class’ customers in cars worth hundreds of thousands of U.S. dollars “is enough for automakers to open showrooms” here, according to The Saigon Times Online.

Most of these customers are celebrities or business moguls, the economic newswire said.

Many wealthy Vietnamese customers were able to buy Rolls-Royces or Lamborghinis through car importers before the carmakers opened official dealerships in Vietnam.

But they had to pay a huge amount in taxes and fees, as well as higher maintenance costs.

Tuoi Tre News - October 13, 2014