LONDON — Bentley has overcome what it called “significant headwinds” to increase sales by 31 percent in 2021 to reach a new record.
The Volkswagen Group-owned ultraluxury brand posted 14,659 sales.
For the fifth consecutive year, the Bentayga SUV was the brand’s best-selling model with 5,855 sales, the company said in a statement.
Strong demand in China and North America saw both markets achieve significantly higher sales than 2020 to account for almost 60 percent of overall sales collectively.
The Americas region, including the U.S., was Bentley’s top market with sales climbing 39 percent to 4,212.
Sales in China grew 40 percent to 4,033, driven by demand for the Bentayga and Flying Spur sedan.
Europe, excluding the UK, was the brand’s third-biggest region at 2,520 sales, up 15 percent from 2020.
“We overcame significant headwinds to deliver a breakthrough in our sales performance,” Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark said in the statement.
Bentley is expected to post record profits for 2021 after announcing a record first-half profit of 178 million euros ($210 million).
Bentley’s strong annual performance is another example of how car companies have prioritized higher-margin brands and models in a year in which a shortage of semiconductors sharply reduced their ability to fulfil customer orders.
VW Group has been forced to reduce production of its best-seller, the VW Golf, at its home plant in Wolfsburg, because of a lack of chips while high-margin brand such as Bentley and Porsche have been largely unaffected.
Bentley’s turnaround comes after the UK-based company was given an ultimatum to become profitable in two years by VW Group’s main shareholders, the Porsche and Piech families.
Bentley’s success has been partly driven by the rollout of a new range of models and derivatives. The brand leapfrogged rivals such as Aston Martin and Rolls-Royce to launch plug-in hybrid models and last year the Bentayga Hybrid accounted for one in five Bentayga sales.
Bentley said it expected strong demand for the plug-in hybrid version of the Flying Spur, which will go on sale soon.
The Continental GT coupe and convertible was the brand’s second best-selling model last year after the Bentayga, with sales of 4,795, Bentley said. The Flying Spur sedan was third with 3,935.