Sunday, January 13, 2013

Bentley, Rolls-Royce reach record sales in 2012

Bentley and Rolls-Royce make so much off of so little that sometimes, we wonder if they're real-estate agents rather than automakers. 

Both German-owned British luxury brands posted record sales in 2012. Bentley, under the Volkswagen Group, sold 8,510 cars, a 22 percent increase over 2011. Rolls-Royce, owned by the BMW Group, sold 3,575 cars, just 37 cars more than in 2011. 

Here's a better way to think about it. Taking an average sale price of $300,000 for Bentley and $400,000 for Rolls-Royce, the two automakers pulled in $2.5 billion and $1.4 billion in revenue last year, respectively. Likely, it's much more. 

Considering that the best-selling Phantom and Continental GT, both of which were mildly updated for 2012, have not seen a thorough redesign since their 2003 introduction, the profits must be enormous by now. (We've overheard that Rolls-Royce was more profitable than BMW last year, but of course, no one will go on record to claim that.)

Most impressive is that Rolls-Royce more than tripled its sales in just three years. In 2009, sales were a hair over 1,000 cars, but with the introduction of the more "affordable" Ghost in 2010, sales shot to 2,711 that year. Still, Rolls-Royce has assured us they aren't interested in chasing sales like Bentley, which is pushing an SUV in an attempt to break the 10,000 barrier as it did in 2007. 

It is, however, planning a 2-door Ghost that will be less expensive than the Phantom Drophead, likely to be revealed sometime this year. Rolls-Royce also opened and refurbished 30 dealerships worldwide last year, including opening the largest dealership in the U.S. on Long Island, N.Y.

Interesting still, the new Bentley Continental V8 and its lower base price captured fewer than 20 percent of all Continental sales. We thought it was more fun, but the 12-cylinder car was and likely will remain top dog. 

Here are some more tidbits:
  • Two-fifths of all Bentley Mulsanne models were shipped to China, which buys the most Bentley sedans of any region.
  • Japan saw a 73 percent jump in Bentley sales to 190 cars.
  • Nearly every Phantom and three out of four Ghost models were custom-ordered.
  • Rolls-Royce sold 63 percent more cars to Saudi Arabia.
It's not bad work if you can get it.

[Source: Bentley via Newspress, Rolls-Royce]

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