Bentley celebrates record results for 2022
Bentley is celebrating record results on its ambitious road to full electrification as wealthy customers spent more on higher value bespoke and personalised luxury models carrying a bigger profit margin – despite a ‘rollercoaster’ year.
Operating profits of €708million (£622m) for 2022 marked an increase of €319m (£280m) on 2021, and are up nearly €1billion (£880m) on the €288m (£253m) losses of pre-pandemic 2018.
The profits boost came as Bentley also celebrated record sales in 2022 of 15,174 cars – the first time it has sold more than 15,000 cars in a year.
But it was customer spending on lucrative extras, more than extra sales volume, which helped overall revenues jump 19 per cent year-on-year as turnover hit €3.38bn (£2.97bn).
Record results: Bentley has confirmed a huge rise in operating profits as vehicle sales in 2022 exceed 15,000 units annually for the first time in its history
Bentley said: ‘The latest annual figures show a profit of €708m (£622m), representing an 82 per cent growth in profit from a four per cent growth in volume.’
Return on sales climbed to 20.9 per cent in 2022, a rise from 13.7 per cent in 2021 and the highest in Bentley’s 104-year history.
This was driven by a ‘significant shift’ in buying patterns as well-heeled customers chose higher specification derivatives, costlier personalised options and extras, and invested more in exclusive Limited Editions and Coachbuilt ‘collectibles’ – such as the Bacalar – costing around £2m each.
The average price of a car sold had soared from €165,000 (£145k) in 2018 to €220k (£193k) in 2022 driven by increased demand for personalisation, not price increases, said Hallmark.
But the best ever ‘milestone’ year for both sales and financial performance also came in the face of unprecedented turbulence and ten separate crises, of which four could have shut the prestige British car maker for up to six months, admitted Bentley chairman and chief executive Adrian Hallmark.
The average price of a car sold had soared from €165,000 (£145k) in 2018 to €220k (£193k) in 2022 driven by increased demand for personalisation and not price increases
Adrian Hallmark joined Bentley as chief executive in 2017, having made the move over from Jaguar Land Rover
He said it was a testament to Bentley’s resilience, crisis planning, cost cutting efficiencies, restructuring, and its ‘value over volume’ strategy that meant the firm not only survived but prospered in the face of such ‘rollercoaster’ challenges which included key parts shortages caused by the war in Ukraine, economic uncertainty, and rampant inflation, and Covid.
The most popular ‘extras’ chosen by Bentley customers
Bentley GT/ Flying Spur – Rotating Display
Extra cost: £4,965
At the press of a button, the James Bond-style rotating display gives customers a choice of three dashboard faces: a 12.3” Infotainment touchscreen, classic analogue dials, or elegant veneer.
Bentley Bentayga EWB (extended wheelbase) – Airline Seats
Extra cost: £8,390
Relax in business class seats with the world-first auto climate sensing and advanced postural adjustment systems. The system applies 177 individual pressure changes across six fully independent posture pressure zones.
Hand cross stitching
Extra cost: £2,570
This hand-crafted work with a needle and thread involves threading a single thread between the twinning stitches throughout the cabin. It takes someone nearly a week’s-worth of work but produces an additional level of bespoke hand craftsmanship.
The strong performance means Bentley, part of the giant Volkswagen Group, can self-fund its own investment, including €3bn (£2.64bn) transforming its Crewe factory over a decade for electrification and expansion of its lucrative bespoke Mulliner arm.
Five new pure electric car launches over five years start from 2026 as part of its Beyond100 strategy.
Bentley aims to electrify its entire product range and achieve carbon neutral status by 2030 as it says goodbye to the gas-guzzling 12-ccylinder petrol engine: ‘We are fully committed to going fully electric’, said Hallmark.
Order banks for 2023 show ‘strong potential’ to sustain performance, though sales for the next three years won’t hit new record highs and the business environment, though less frenetic than 2022, is still becoming ‘more volatile and risk factors are increasing,’ said Hallmark.
Hallmark said he aims to make the company ‘bomb-proof’ to survive future turbulence.
Action last year to keep production running at Crewe, which currently employs around 4,000 people included: axing or redeploying 1,000 staff and cutting costs by a quarter.
Bentley said: ‘This rapid financial transformation of the company underpins a future investment programme unrivalled in the luxury car sector, enabling Bentley to revolutionise from the world’s biggest 12-cylinder engine producer to an all-electric car company within a decade’.
Hallmark noted: ‘Since the low point of 2018, the whole team at Crewe has been working intensively to restructure the business model. Last year marked a milestone in this journey.
‘An almost €1bn (£880m) profit turnaround has been achieved since 2018 despite an unprecedented period of disruptions and crises including Brexit, Covid, semiconductor supply, Ukraine and UK economic instability.’
Order banks for 2023 show ‘strong potential’ to sustain performance, though sales for the next three years won’t hit new record highs and the business environment, though less frenetic than 2022, is still becoming ‘more volatile and risk factors are increasing,’ said Hallmark
Top seller on 2022 was Bentley’s Bentayga SUV clocking up 42% of total sales, with the Continental GT and Convertible (pictured) accounting for a third of orders
Government red tape was hampering their switch to electrification, he said: ‘We’re not complaining, we just get on with it.’
Top seller on 2022 was Bentley’s Bentayga SUV clocking up 42 per cent of total sales, with the Continental GT and Convertible accounting for third (of which the performance-orientated GT Speed claiming almost 31 per cent of the model mix).
The flagship Flying Spur four-door grand-tourer achieved 28 per cent of total sales, boosted by a hybrid version.
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