Rich splurge on fancy cars but Bentley sales take a tumble. Here's why

Bentley delivered 13,560 cars in 2023 which may be impressive but fewer than what it had in 2022, a year which saw it hit its personal best in sales f
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Bentley
File photo: A visitor takes photos of the Bentley Bentayga EWB car at the plant of Audi Hungary. (AFP)
Bentley
File photo: A visitor takes photos of the Bentley Bentayga EWB car at the plant of Audi Hungary.

Luxury and super luxury car manufacturers have never had it this good. From Mercedes and BMW on the one end of the spectrum to even the likes of Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce posting impressive sales performances in 2023, it is amply evident that the rich and the richest among the rich are driving home cars worth millions. But in all of this, Bentley found the going a bit tough in 2023 with its sales sliding by 11 per cent.

Bentley achieved its personal best sales record in 2022 and was well poised to better even that in 2023 because of how market trends were emerging around this time last year. But it was not meant to be. The British manufacturer under the Volkswagen umbrella sold 13,560 cars in the 12 months of last year. While still mighty impressive, it was lower than total units delivered in 2022.

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The second-half of 2023 may have thrown a spanner in the plans. "The luxury market was not immune from the challenging market conditions seen around the world in the second half of 2023," CEO Adrian Hallmark informed in an official statement. "We remain cautiously optimistic for the year ahead, with a continued robust global demand by market and model."

While market conditions have indeed become more challenging in key luxury car markets across the world, it still may not fully explain whyBentley sales took a tumble even as Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce reported their personal best years in terms of sales. While Rolls-Royce delivered 6,032 units with the US and China emerging as its best markets, Lamborghini raced to deliver over 10,000 cars with 103 units in India. The likes of Mercedes-Benz and BMW also informed that they managed to reach sales targets predicted at the start of 2023.

For Bentley, however, the pain points in particular were China where sales dipped by 18 per cent, followed by Europe (15 per cent) and North America (nine per cent). The company, nonetheless, took heart from the fact that personalized and bespoke content in vehicles rose 43 per cent versus 2022.

First Published Date: 19 Jan 2024, 09:01 AM IST
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