Luxury car maker Bentley announced a 162 per cent increase in first-quarter operating profit over the same period last year, as rising vehicle prices offset the loss of certain vehicles at sea and pandemic-related delivery issues in China.
High customer interest in new models led to a record order book of slightly under 10,000 vehicles for the 102-year-old company, according to the Volkswagen business.
According to Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark, roughly 200 automobiles were lost on a ship that caught fire off the Azores in February, with about 75 of them being highly tailored orders for specific clients.
These sales were substantially recovered in April, according to Hallmark.
Pandemic shutdowns in China impacted sales, as well as the ability to transport automobiles inland.
“The crises that we’ve had with COVID, semiconductors and now the tragedy in Ukraine have not dented customers’ willingness to invest in high luxury goods and certainly not in Bentleys,” Hallmark told Reuters. “We’re really doing well.”
Following a record year for Bentley in 2021, when pandemic travel limitations left wealthy consumers with more disposable income, premium and luxury automobile sales in important global markets such as China and the United States increased. continue reading
In the absence of any new supply chain concerns, Hallmark expects to produce roughly 15,000 automobiles this year, up from 14,659 last year.
Vehicle sales in the first quarter declined 5% to 3,203 units, down from 3,358 a year ago, with sales down 9 per cent in the Americas and 29 per cent in China.
Customers preferred more bespoke choices, thus the average income per car increased 15 per cent to 212,000 euros ($223,257) from 184,000 euros a year ago.
Customers have loved the flexibility to customise seat leathers, stitching, seating combinations, and a variety of other features, according to Hallmark.
“Dealers are doing limited editions, special packages for individual customers, and it’s just getting more and more popular,” he said.
Bentley’s revenue increased by 41 per cent to 813 million euros from 578 million euros a year before, and its operating profit increased to 170 million euros from 65 million euros.
A reorganisation programme that began in 2018 also helped boost profits.
(Adapted from Reuters.com)