The growing desire of the wealthy to personalise their cars drove Bentley’s profits to record levels last year.
The luxury car manufacturer, which produces all of its vehicles in England but it owned by German motoring group Volkswagen, delivered 15,174 vehicles in 2022, marking the first time it has sold more than 15,000 cars in a year.
Turnover rose by 19 per cent to €3.38 billion ($3.58 million), from €2.85 billion the previous year, while operating profits almost doubled, from €389 million to €708 million — despite production only increasing by 4 per cent.
Bentley, which aims to become an all-electric car manufacturer by 2030, said the growth came from customers paying more for upgrades, personalisation and limited editions and collectibles across its range.
It sold more Bentayga vehicles — its most popular model — than ever before, accounting for 42 per cent of its total sales.
The Continental GT and Convertible accounted for nearly a third of sales, with the performance-orientated GT Speed claiming almost 31 per cent of the model mix.
The Flying Spur, which Bentley calls the “world’s finest luxury four-door grand tourer”, made up 28 per cent of Bentley’s total sales, helped by the introduction of an environmentally-friendly hybrid.
Adrian Hallmark, chairman and chief executive of Bentley Motors, said the company has worked hard to restructure its business model since the “low point” of 2018.
“An almost €1 billion profit turnaround has been achieved since 2018 despite an unprecedented period of disruptions and crises including Brexit, Covid, semiconductor supply, Ukraine and UK economic instability,” he said.
“We have built a sustainable financial basis for the long term, a competitive cost structure and unique market positioning, resulting in an historically strong cash generative that is providing the funding for the most ambitious race to full BEV [battery electric vehicles] and carbon neutrality in the luxury sector.”
Bentley’s order intake rate so far in 2023 shows “strong potential to sustain our performance”. But the business environment is becoming more volatile and risk factors are increasing, he said.
“We will maintain focus on customer value rather than sales volume and adapt our plan according to the emerging market situation, however our well-balanced export success, disciplined cost management structure and ability to maximise personalisation in an industrialised way, driving profitability, are good foundations to continue this success,” added Mr Hallmark.
Earlier this year it was reported that custom vehicle sales — which have waiting times of between six and 12 months — last year increased by 6 per cent in the Middle East to 968 last year, up from 915 in 2021.
Private dealers in Dubai told The National the region’s prestige vehicle industry is 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,” said Ryan Hughes, co-owner of RMA Motors in Dubai Investment Park.
“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.”