Bentley bespoke services drive bumper year for luxury car maker

Drive for customisation helps take carmaker profits of €589 million in 2023

Bentley sales are near record levels as more customers opt for customisation of their vehicles. Photo: Bentley
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Luxury carmaker Bentley says it enjoyed a near-record year for profits as more customers opted to add personal flourishes to their vehicles.

The UK manufacturer earned €589 million ($640 million) operating profit on about €3 billion in revenue in 2023, behind only the previous year.

About 13,560 of its cars were sold in 2023 – the third-highest figure in the company's history but 11 per cent lower than the previous year.

Customers are increasingly spending to obtain special finishes on their purchases, from quilted stitches sewed into seats, to bespoke paint jobs and special wood veneers.

At least 70 per cent of Bentleys bought last year were outfitted with content from Mulliner, its bespoke division, which was revamped in 2020.

Bentley said customers are also more likely to opt for higher revenue models such as Azure, Bentayga S and Speed, the mix of which reached 70 per cent up from 30 per cent in 2022.

The personalisation its buyers are demanding is unlike anything the manufacturer has seen in its 105-year history, the company said, with at least 46 billion bespoke configurations available.

“Customers wanted it, we’ve industrialised it, and it’s just exponentially taking off,” said Adrian Hallmark, chief executive of Bentley.

“On just a few thousand more cars than we used to sell in the 2000s, we’re now making three times, four times the profit per year that we used to make,” Mr Hallmark said.

The Bentayga remained Bentley’s number one model, accounting for 44 per cent of total sales and reinforcing its position as the buyer demand for SUVs continued.

In the second half of this year, Bentley will refresh its Continental GT and Flying Spur ranges, launching four plug-in hybrid models.

The Bentley range – in pictures

The introduction of the brand’s first battery-electric vehicle is scheduled for late in 2026 rather than next year, as previously planned.

“There’s no question that BEVs are the way that we’ll all head in the midterm,” Mr Hallmark said.

“But also, what we’re seeing is an uptick in the acceptance and the demand for hybrids.”

As a result, Bentley has pushed back plans to launch its full range of fully electric models, which originally was expected to roll out by 2030.

The Americas remains its biggest global export market, Bentley said.

The UK is now the number one selling region for hybrid models by proportion, with 27 per cent of sales from relevant model lines in 2023 selected as a hybrid option.

Updated: March 19, 2024, 6:09 PM