Bentley Arrives In Baku, Azerbaijan

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I swear, the stuff that lands on your desk when you’re a professional automotive journalist. Case in point, a news item from Bentley titled “Bentley arrives in Baku, Azerbaijan”. OK, I’ll bite, why would Bentley, or any other car manufacturer want to set up shop in a place like Azerbaijan? And even more intriguing, how many people in Baku want to buy a Bentley?

My first thought was “Is this some sort of joke? Where’s Borat?” Yeah, I know, Borat Sagdiyev was supposedly from Kazakhstan, but that’s right next door, and at first I couldn’t get the image out of my mind of some Sacha Cohen character blundering into the shiny new Bentley office and trying to trade his sister or a couple of sheep for a new Bentley Continental R. Then that cleared. Azerbaijan isn’t THAT crazy, or not nearly as backward as portrayed in various movies. There must be some sort of a market for very highly priced luxo-barges in Baku, right? Sure, why not.

So to get some background, I swing by Wikipedia, and right off the bat, it has this to say:
” The name Baku is widely believed to be derived from the old Persian names of the city Bad-kube, meaning “Wind-pounded city”, in which bad means “wind” and kube is rooted in the verb kubidan, “to pound”, thus referring to a place where wind is strong and pounding.”

After I stop laughing and struggle to not edit that sort of writing, Baku doesn’t sound like that bad of a place. There’s tons of universities there, has a population about the size of metro Cincinnati, is pretty warm and dry … it’s just on the other side of the planet, and doesn’t seem like the sort of place to support a Bentley franchise.

“Bentley Baku will soon become the latest dealership in the company\’s worldwide network, proof of the growing appeal of the powerful, hand-crafted luxury cars made in Crewe, England,” gushed Bentley in their press handout. Yes, yes, we’re sure that more people like your cars today than they did 20 years ago, but Azerbaijan?

They are planning on opening up shop November 2009 on Neftchilar Avenue, Port Baku, and according to Michael Mayer, Regional Director for Europe and UK of Bentley Motors, \”The appeal of the Bentley brand now extends far beyond the company\’s traditional markets. The power, performance and luxury of our models, in particular the Continental family, attract a new breed of entrepreneurs in fast-developing economies such as Azerbaijan.\”

Indeed, and Bentley is working with an outfit called Pasha Holding (creative name, that) whose other businesses are “pharmaceuticals, construction, travel, banking, insurance and restaurants.”

Why do I get the feeling that Pasha Holding is one guy, and this is his way of getting a Bentley?

Here’s Bentley’s presser:

Bentley arrives in Baku, Azerbaijan

Crewe / Baku, 7 April 2009 … By handing over a letter of intent to Emin Asgarov of Azerbaijan\’s Pasha Holding, Michael Mayer, Regional Director for Europe and UK of Bentley Motors, signalled the imminent arrival of a Bentley dealership in Baku, Azerbaijan. Bentley Baku will soon become the latest dealership in the company\’s worldwide network, proof of the growing appeal of the powerful, hand-crafted luxury cars made in Crewe, England.

Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan, is both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a thriving port on the Caspian Sea at the heart of Azerbaijan\’s oil industry. The new Bentley Baku dealership will be operated by Pasha Holding with the official opening in Neftchilar Avenue, Port Baku scheduled for November 2009.

Welcoming Bentley\’s partnership with Pasha Holding, Michael Mayer commented: \”The appeal of the Bentley brand now extends far beyond the company\’s traditional markets. The power, performance and luxury of our models, in particular the Continental family, attract a new breed of entrepreneurs in fast-developing economies such as Azerbaijan. We are fortunate to be working with Pasha Holding, whose broad-based network, financial strength and excellent understanding of the Bentley brand makes them ideal partners.\”

Pasha Holding\’s other business interests encompass pharmaceuticals, construction, travel, banking, insurance and restaurants.

Photo from Flickr user jorbasa

About The Author

Tony Borroz grew up in a sportscar oriented family, but sadly, it was British cars. His knuckles still show the marks of slipped Whitworth sockets, strains to reach rear upper shock bushings on Triumphs and slight burn marks from dealing with Lucas Electric "systems". He has written for a variety of car magazines and websites, Automoblog chief among them, as well as working on very popular driving games as a content expert. He has also worked for aerospace companies, software giants and as a movie stuntman. He currently lives in a secure, undisclosed location in the American southwestern desert.

11 Comments on "Bentley Arrives In Baku, Azerbaijan"

  1. Ahmad

    hahahaha, i acidentally read this message, and yea, NOW THIS IS FUNNY.. i dont know who you are or where you from, but damn, You are so mistaken !! You probably live in USA, never heard of any other country, and can only compare Azerbaijan to BOrat.. well, Kazakhstan is not our neighbor country, we don even have common borders with them… and believe me boy, when you come to Azerbaijan, You will realize how much you are wrong, because Baku city is the city of luxury, with all the top clothes brands, car brands, you can see the brand new rolls royces, mercedes, bmw, bentleys EVERYWHRE in the streets… dude, this is oil country, if your stupid american brains do not know geography, and do not know that Azerbaijan is not that close to KAzakhstan, I think that U can at least compare it to Dubai, hope u ever heard of it, huh? hahahahha, maaan U shud just come to Azerbaijan, and U will realize that U are wrong )))

    welcome to Azerbaijan baby !!!

  2. Alex

    You are a Clown! If I was you, I would stick to reading geography and general knowledge. Azerbaijan has been the fastest growing economy in the world for the past 4 years (according to the IMF and the World Bank). The Country has no debts, an appreciating currency and a young, vibrant and highly educated population. These are stats your loser, bankrupt Country would love to have enjoyed!

  3. Alchemist

    Professional automotive journalist? wow who gave you that title? Here is some info on this smartass "Tony Borroz Age: 48. Location: San Francisco, CA Currently drives: 1994 Mazda Miata." R u serious? You are such a loser, Tony Borroz. Please stay in SF and keep driving your "GAYMOBILE" Borroz – Borat Who cares?

  4. Bakuvian

    Tony, sweetheart, next time doing research on the country try to stick to more ortodox sources, like country fact sheets issued by serious publishers or international organisations (of course if you can read economic data)… What a shame: Sasha Baron Cohen was making fun of people exactly like you in his satirical film Borat, but you still don't get it – it was you whom he was laughing at not Kazakhz (hard working, intelligent people by the way)… Anyhow, we are good here in Baku… and Kazakhstan…

    By the way, Pasha Holding is run by highly educated and sophisticated people and the name of the company reflects their family name…

  5. Angry Azeri

    Tony, what can I say? After reading your article I can only thing of one word – MORON. Or wait, actually there are two – FUCKING MORON. I've lived in the states for over 10 years and IDIOTS like you don’t surprise me any more. In fact IDIOTS like you give us, Americans bad name. You are so quick to judge others, when all you have to do is look at yourself in the mirror. Azerbaijan has more luxury cars like BMWs, Mercedes Benz, Land Rovers and Bentleys per capita than US. Do you know what per capita means? Or it's too much for your little brain to process? Most of the people in Azerbaijan speak at least 3 languages – Azeri, Russian and Turkish. How many languages do you speak? Let me guess…one and it's American. "Professional automotive journalist" my ass. I am a proud Azeri American, and I am proud of my heritage and culture that goes back thousands of years and I dare you to say the same. At the end of the day all of this is not about luxury cars, it's about you being an ILLITERATE MORON, and showing it on this board. Last but not least, Azerbaijan has been thriving for the last decade or so and it’s all considering that it has over 20% of its land occupied by Armenians for 20 years, and we were the ones to stop the war and try to solve this matter diplomatically. It takes INTELLIGENCE, INTEGRITY and STRONG BELIEFS to choose this road. Do you get my point? Here's a hint: Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Iraq, Afghanistan, now threatening Iran. So do yourself a favor and don’t ever open your mouth again, EVER!

  6. DASH

    I stumbled on this by accident and couldn't believe what I was reading from Tony.

    I am an Englishman who has been living in Baku for the last 10 years. I have seen Azerbaijan go from strength to strength in that time and as everyone else has pointed out, this is a young, vibrant and go ahead Republic with vast oil and gas reserves. You can stand on a street corner any day and lose count of the expensive luxury cars that go by you. Far more, in fact, than I have ever seen in any city, in a lifetime of travelling.

    I don't think your article is really about cars, is it? Its about ignorance. Its about knowing nothing about the world and whats going outside your own country.

    Azerbaijan is a beautiful country, full of diverse landscapes from desert to high mountains, with everything in between. Its history goes back thousands of years and with this history goes hand in hand a culture that has developed commensurately. Art, handicrafts, music, poetry and literature. Along with this you have a nation of gifted, educated multi lingual people with a very very generous nature and great sense of family. Vist anyones house, from the poorest to the richest and your welcome will be the same. Tea, sweets, cake and an offer of food, even if it was the last thing left to eat in the house. Everyone in the family will take you to their hearts as long as you are sincere and friendly.

    This does not mean that Azerbaijanis are a weak nation. If you consider that the Russians were here from the early 1900's and left in 1993 and guess what? The Azerbaijan nation is still here, flourishing like never before with its history, language and purpose still intact.They have an inner strength, like many nations situated in areas of global crossroads.

    Azerbaijan will continue to flourish for many years to come. They were virtually unaffected by the recent global meltdown and their currency is gaining strength all the time.

    Go and get a passport and come and see a nation in change. Come and see the Bentleys, McClarens,Porsches, Cadillacs,etc driving up and down the Boulevade and then re-write your article with an apology at the start and then answer your own question as to who in Azerbaijan wants a Bentley. Everyone probably but as in most countries, only a few have the disposable income to actually buy.

    A small tip. It would probably be better to concentrate on writing articles about cars in future and leave politics, films,comedy etc to those who know about these things. By the way Pasha Holdings is a family run business, funnily enough, run by the Pasha family. They will probably have a Bentley for each day of the week each and 2 for Sundays.

  7. Mamed

    Tony, you are such an idiot. I wonder if you ever graduated from a high school. Every signle person in Azerbaijan is far more educated than you are, and Azerbaijan is a country where there is a far more people educated in top schools accross the world per capital. While morons like degrade with articles as above, the world, especially accross the atlantic is progressing. You are such a moron..

  8. karen Thakur

    Tony man you must be American only the americans can be so arrogant in their ignorance.Have just arrived in Azerbaijan and i am so in awe of this place. The architecture is awesome in its beauty. And Tony every other car is a merc. Prada and Coco C are only some of the stores that line the beautiful streets. Really you are a shame to journalism imagine going to wikipedia to get your information. Please Please start saving (and you will need to save for sometime as this place is expensive ) and come to Baku. And next time do a little more research before you put pen to paper.

  9. kamikaze

    I was visiting a friend in the poorest section of Baku. There were two Porsche Cayennes and a Porsche Panamera. In town, I saw several Bentley's, an Audi R8 and a ton more other brands. At the main seaside boulevard, there were Escallades and, more importantly, a Mercedes SLS parked outside Gucci, one of the most used stores in Baku alongside its neighbours Armani and Dolce & Gabbana. When the Bentley store opened in Baku, the city was filled with them within days. This is a small city filled with VERY wealthy people, and a lot of them. In fact, living costs a lot more here than anywhere else and despite this people can afford luxuries. Do you still think it's unusual for Bentley to open a store here next to an "emporium" which sells the top clothes brands in the world, right next to buildings with apartments at the price of millions in a city where luxury is so common that it is almost a norm?

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