Dubai's Bentley and Rolls-Royce dealers see boom in demand

Custom fit-outs and SUVs are helping the marques to break new ground

Sales of Rolls-Royce vehicles increased by 8 per cent in 2022 to a record 6,021 vehicles worldwide. Getty
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The world may be feeling the start of a global recession, but demand for luxury cars continues to accelerate.

Rolls-Royce and Bentley — two of the biggest names in the luxury car market — announced record sales this year and a surge in demand for the latest electric vehicles.

Lamborghini also had a stellar 2022, delivering 9,233 cars worldwide, an increase of 10 per cent from the previous year. It has already pre-sold its entire production run to early 2024.

Experts say a greater choice of SUVs made by high-end brands, as well as the option to customise new cars, helped to boost sales.

Rolls-Royce reported an 8 per cent increase in vehicle sales in 2022 compared with the previous year, rising to a record 6,021 worldwide.

The average cost of one of the luxury cars is about $574,000.

Bentley recorded an increase in sales by 4 per cent last year compared with 2021 figures, selling 15,174 of its high-end vehicles.

Private dealers in Dubai, one of the most reliable markets for luxury cars, said the region’s prestige vehicle industry was booming despite the global economic downturn.

“The Middle East has always been a strong performer for Rolls-Royce and Bentley, regionally, in terms of sales numbers,” Ryan Hughes, co-owner of RMA Motors in Dubai Investment Park, told The National.

“One of the main reasons has been the introduction of the luxury SUV Cullinan and Bentayga models.

“They are some of the best-performing models and have encouraged sales numbers to improve.

“The Cullinan is the best-selling product in our region, and for Asia it seems to be the Ghost.

“The next big step globally is the launch of the Spectre, the first electric Rolls-Royce. It will be interesting to see how it performs.”

RMA Motors has reported impressive growth, with a 10 per cent increase in luxury car sales in 2022 and an 18 per cent growth forecast for 2023, Mr Hughes said.

Custom-made Rolls-Royce cars have helped to increase profits for the German-owned manufacturer, with the Middle East the leading region for bespoke orders.

The car maker in 2022 opened its first private office outside the UK to cater to the burgeoning market for custom luxury cars in the Middle East.

The office is in Dubai’s One Central district.

“The Middle East region continues to contribute significantly to Rolls-Royce’s overall success and saw the strongest sales growth of any region in 2022,” said Rolls-Royce regional director Cesar Habib.

“It is a key market for bespoke vehicles.

“While we don’t provide sales forecasts, we are optimistic that 2023 will be another strong year for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in the Middle East and Africa."

Bentley also reported a consistent appeal among consumers for the Continental GT and GT Convertible, which starts at $238,300, and accounted for about a third of all sales.

Its popular SUV — the Bentayga — made up 42 per cent of all company sales.

It also recorded growing demand in 2022 for bespoke vehicles, as customers looked to make their cars unique.

Custom vehicles delivered last year increased by 6 per cent in the Middle East to 968 last year, up from 915 in 2021.

“During the past three years, we witnessed increasing demand across our portfolio and we expect the business to continue on a healthy growth trajectory in 2023,” said Joseph Tayar, director of the prestige division of Al Habtoor Motors.

“Customers in the UAE do really value their personal tastes and they are not worried to express it.”

Customised cars are a key performer for Bentley in the UAE, with lead times from six to 12 months.

“The product scarcity we faced during the past three years affected customer expectations and behavioural patterns,” Mr Tayar said.

“Focus has shifted towards highly customised vehicles and clients are accepting the lead time required for production.

“Supply issues have been corrected all around the world by most manufacturers and we have now a steady supply of Bentley vehicles arriving in UAE.”

Updated: January 30, 2023, 11:07 AM