Bentley making more cars than ever before as high-rolling customers splash out on luxury vehicles
British manufacturer Bentley is making more cars than ever before as high-rolling customers splash out on luxury vehicles.
The company said it is building 85 cars a day, its joint-highest ever output, at its factory in Crewe after notching up a record first three months of the year.
The 102-year-old firm sold 3,358 of its cars, which cost between £150,000 and £1.5million, in the first quarter. This was up 40 per cent on the same period last year – raking in revenues of €577.5million (£500million) with a profit of €65million (£56million).
In the fast lane: Bentley said it is building 85 cars a day, its joint-highest ever output
Chief executive Adrian Hallmark told The Mail on Sunday that wealthy customers adding to their car collections in lockdown had helped sales.
He said: ‘Crises sharpen the focus and it makes you think, ‘Where am I? How do I reprioritise my life? Life’s too short and I would rather come out of this crisis with this in my collection.’ Hallmark said a three-month Covid factory shutdown last year had created an order backlog, adding: ‘There’s nothing better that you can say to a successful person that could buy our cars than, ‘No, we can’t supply’, because that just drives the demand off the clock.’
The Volkswagen-owned brand sold 11,206 cars in 2020 during a record year. Hallmark said China was its biggest market in the first quarter with saloon cars, including its Flying Spur, proving popular. China could overtake the US as its biggest market this year.
But Hallmark said the industry’s microchip shortage issues were growing and the shortage of oxygen for welding processes in India due to the Covid crisis had forced it to source small parts elsewhere.
Bentley last year cut 800 jobs as it restructured its operations towards planning for electric and autonomous cars. The firm plans to go fully electric from 2030.
Hallmark said the Government must act to support the market over the next decade before a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in 2030. He added: ‘The big ask is how you make this transition from combustion to electric work. I’ve been quite pushy in advocating for a transition strategy.’
He said the public had been ‘totally confused’ over whether to buy petrol, diesel, hybrid or electric cars by policy changes.
Rival Aston Martin last week posted strong first-quarter sales aided by demand for its first sports utility vehicle, notably in China.