Luxury car marque Bentley has opened its first showroom in South America, in a bid to gain a foothold in the area’s rapidly developing market.

The firm opened its Sao Paulo showroom on March 18, describing the Brazilian capital as “a major center of commerce, luxury and culture in South America”.

Unsurprisingly, Bentley Sao Paulo is located in the borough of Pinheiros, Sao Paulo’s wealthiest area.

The Sao Paulo location will increase Bentley’s showroom count to 48 in the Americas — despite that fact that the region’s 2009 sales total was small by most standards at “more than 1,450″.

The firm says that it will bring its new flagship, the €220,000 Mulsanne, to the Americas later in 2010.

Car buying consumers in Brazil, along with other developing nations such as China and India, have been faster to recover from the global economic downturn than many developed countries.

Earlier this week, the BMW group (which also owns Bentley competitor Rolls Royce), said that sales jumped 118 percent in Brazil during 2009, to 6,398 units.