Car Sales Are in a Slump, But One Luxury Brand Reported Record Sales in 2020
Despite the lockdown and global economic downturn last year, Bentley managed to break a sales record, outselling all its previous years. The now 101-year-old Bentley Motors is one of the most recognizable and sought-after luxury car brands in the world.
Based in Crewe, England, the brand’s HQ and facilities houses some 4,000 people including design, R&D, engineering and production dedicated to produce only four model lines, the Continental GT and convertible, the Bentayga SUV, and the recently launched Flying Spur. The production facility houses a mixture of cutting-edge engineering and artisan craftsmanship that Bentley has been known for over a century.
The company announced that it sold a record 11,206 units last year, with a two percent growth over 2019. This despite a seven-week shutdown in its manufacturing facility in March. The plant ran at 50 percent capacity for the following nine weeks, and new social distancing measures and other safety protocols were introduced. With production figures like this, it means that it takes one person to produce three cars annually, which is a very low ratio, even for a luxury car brand.
Where did all these cars go? Fifty-three percent went to China and the US market. In China alone, there has been a 48-percent surge in sales last year, taking up the lion’s share of the brand’s overall growth.
“Even though we anticipated greater sales before the pandemic struck, when you consider the level of restrictions around the world for the majority of the year, to achieve a record sales performance is a strong measure of our potential,” said Adrian Hallmark, chairman and CEO of Bentley Motors. “As we look to the year ahead, we remain cautiously optimistic as much remains uncertain. One thing that doesn’t is our commitment to progress, the first step of which is the launch of the Bentayga Hybrid. This is one of nine new models we will launch this year as we continue on our Beyond100 strategic path and our accelerated journey towards becoming a fully electrified car company by 2030.”
Esquire Philippines was present at the launch of the new Flying Spur in Singapore in 2019. Bentley had hoped that the addition of the model will work on sustaining the growth of its market. In true Bentley fashion, the all-new Flying Spur was well-received and, with the introduction of its V8 engine variant last October, added to the growth in total sales.
The Bentley Continental GT took up 24 percent, and GT Convertible 15 percent, totaling 39 percent of sales. The Bentayga SUV closely followed by at 37 percent, thanks to an all-new model. Sales in Europe lagged by a decrease of 18 percent, with home market UK suffering a decrease of 22 percent, while sales in the Middle East was down by six percent.
Nonetheless, Bentley still enjoyed a stellar performance despite all the challenges brought by the pandemic. This shows that the affluent market still has an appetite for luxury, depending on which region you are from.
Best luxury SUV
And Bentley seems to be on a roll as it just announced that it was chosen as 4x4 Magazine’s Best Luxury SUV in the annual 4x4 Year Awards. Designed to be the ultimate luxury and yet truly capable 4x4 off-roading SUV, the Bentayga was also chosen as the Performance SUV of the Year by the same publication the previous year.
According to Alan Kidd, Editor of 4x4 magazine - “Until this last year, we’ve always seen the Bentayga as a performance SUV. But its pace and dynamics have been so dominant in its character, it has been easy to overlook the luxury that’s a critical element of any Bentley.The Bentayga may well go hand in hand with membership of several exclusive clubs. But the most exclusive of all is the club for vehicles which have triumphed in more than one class in these awards. A former Performance SUV of the Year is now our Luxury SUV of the Year. For one model to reach such heights in two separate categories is truly remarkable.”