CREWE, UK--Bentley has named Michael Baumann as its new communications director, as the luxury car brand eyes recovery from the global recession.

Baumann joins from Porsche AG, where he headed international PR for the past six years. Before joining Porsche, he worked as the New York based correspondent for the German business weekly WirtschaftsWoche. Baumann relocates to Bentley’s headquarters in the UK city of Crewe from Stuttgart.

Mike Hawes, who was previously in charge of Bentley’s PR efforts, will remain in place as head of corporate and government affairs, reporting to Baumann.

Volkswagen-owned Bentley has seen particular growth in China, which have overtaken the UK to become the brand’s second-biggest international market after the US. The company’s global sales plunged by 50percent in 2009, resulting in an operating loss of 194m euros. It is predicting strong sales growth in 2011, however, after seeing pickup in the second half of 2010.

“We are working continuously on the further development of the Bentley brand,” said Bentley Motors CEO Wolfgang Durheimer, to whom Baumann will report. “With Michael Baumann we now have an internationally experienced communications expert from the premium segment on board. He will give a fresh impetus to the positive business trend we are experiencing at Bentley.”