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Luxury cars are hard to sell! Bentley's sales in China plummeted 18%

2024-04-22 Update From: AutoBeta NAV: AutoBeta > News >


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In the Chinese market, the sales of Bentley, the ultra-luxury car brand, are in crisis.

Recently, Volkswagen Group's ultra-luxury brand Bentley (Bentley) released 2023 sales figures. Data show that global delivery of 13560 vehicles in 2023, the third highest in history, but down 11% from a year earlier.

"the challenging global market environment in the second half of 2023 also had a negative impact on the luxury market," said Adrian Hallmark, chief executive of Bentley. "however, we remain cautiously optimistic about the year ahead, as global market and car demand will remain strong."

The combined sales of the Bentley brand in the Americas and China account for 50% of the total sales in the global market. In 2023, China became one of the most significant declines in Bentley sales, with annual sales of 3006 vehicles, down 18% from a year earlier. In the American market, Bentley delivered a total of 3848 vehicles for the whole year, down 9% from the same period in 2022. It is still the largest Bentley market in the world.

Sales in Europe were 2376, down 15% from the same period last year; 1218 in the UK, down 18% from the same period last year; sales in other Asia-Pacific markets rose 5% to 2123, and sales in the Middle East, India and Africa slightly increased 2% to 989

In terms of models, the best-selling Bentley is still the Bentayga Tian Yue, accounting for 44% of total sales; in addition, the Continental GT and Continental GT convertible versions continue to remain attractive, accounting for 33% of the total sales; the ultra-luxury four-door Bentley Flying car accounted for 25%.

Bentley, founded in 1919, was first acquired by Rolls-Royce, but due to the poor management of Rolls-Royce, Bentley was finally acquired by Volkswagen Group. At present, compared with before 2020, Bentley's development has improved, with its highest sales record in 2022, but it is also difficult for Bentley to survive in an increasingly competitive market.

In terms of operating profit, Bentley suffered its first consecutive decline in sales in 2018, the first negative operating profit in eight years, and lost profits for the past three years in one year. Over the next four years, Bentley cut costs by more than 25 per cent and continued to increase sales, which grew from 9559 in 2018 to 15594 in 2021.

Bentley turned a profit in 2019, with an operating profit of 65 million euros that year, rising to 389 million euros by 2021. In the first three quarters of 2023, Bentley's operating profit rose further to 575 million euros, up 109% from a year earlier, mainly due to growth brought about by customization. With a modest increase in overall sales, Bentley's revenue increased by 28% from 1.949 billion euros in 2021 to 2.49 billion euros in the first three quarters of 2023.

As for the electrification of Bentley, Adrian Hallmark said that some customers who initially liked Bentley's large internal combustion engine models would refuse to use electric cars, but most people would accept the power. At present, the pace of Bentley's transformation of electrification is not fast. According to previous reports, Bentley plans to launch its first all-electric car in 2026 and one electric car a year by 2030, when it has an all-electric model range.

By contrast, Porsche, another luxury brand owned by Volkswagen Group, launched its first all-electric Taycan in 2019, and the second all-electric Macan was launched on January 25, 2024. Rolls-Royce, the former owner, unveiled its first pure electric model, the Spectre, in October 2023. The new car is positioned as a two-door, four-seater sedan, with the first deliveries in the fourth quarter of 2023.

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