By Nick Carey
LONDON (Reuters) – British luxury carmaker Bentley on Tuesday reported record vehicle sales for 2022, with strong demand offsetting a 9% drop in China caused by coronavirus-related lockdowns.
The Volkswagen unit said it had sold 15,174 vehicles during 2022, up 4% from in 2021, which was itself a banner year for Bentley.
“In what was another year of unpredictability, the business overcame significant headwinds and demonstrated great resilience to deliver the third consecutive record sales year,” Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark said in a statement.
The company reported sales growth in every regional market except China. But in the Americas, Bentley’s largest market, sales only grew at a modest pace of less than 1%.
The Bentayga luxury SUV, which has a starting price of around 150,000 pounds ($180,000), remained Bentley’s top-selling model in 2022, accounting for 42% of vehicle sales.
Bentley has increasingly focused on customization, from hand-stitched leather to finishes ranging from walnut to koa wood, or even 5,000-year-old wood fished out of England’s low-lying wetland Fens. This lifted Bentley’s average pre-tax sales price nearly 30% to 220,000 euros ($236,500) a car in 2022 from 170,000 euros in 2018.
The company said last month it expects a slight drop in production in 2023 as shutdowns in China have slowed orders.
Bentley has committed to going fully electric by 2030.
This week another German-owned British luxury brand, BMW unit Rolls-Royce, reported record sales for 2022 with an average price tag of around $534,000 for its luxury cars, also despite a drop in Chinese demand. ($1 = 0.9302 euros)
($1 = 0.8203 pounds)
(Reporting By Nick Carey; Editing by Kevin Liffey)