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Do you think 2021 was bad? Not for Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Lamborghini

Last year Rolls-Royce delivered 5,586 cars to the world, the most cars Rolls-Royce has sold in a year in its 117-year history. Bentley also set a record selling 14,659 cars and SUVs last year. This is a 31% increase over the previous year.

In raw numbers, such modest sales figures would be a sign of dismal failure for a mainstream brand or even for most luxury car brands. But for automakers with products like the $ 455,000 Rolls-Royce Phantom or the $ 200,000 Bentley Flying Spur, the more than 20,000 cars combined represent historic success.

But the sales windfall isn’t limited to those offering plush, plush rides. Lamborghini has yet to announce annual sales for 2021, but in an interview in December CEO Stephan Winkelmann said sales were on track for a record year.

“This year is already higher than the best year ever,” he said.

In the United States, the brand’s largest market, Lamborghini delivered 2,472 vehicles last year, an 11% increase from 2020.

Bentley and Lamborghini are both part of the Volkswagen group.

There had been hints that the pandemic was not going to hurt the businesses of these manufacturers. Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce both had record years in 2019. The pandemic disrupted production for some time in 2020, but once factories were operational, luxury automakers closed 2020 with strong fourth quarter sales. . Bentley even achieved a full-year record for 2020 despite a seven-week plant shutdown. This record was broken this year.

Christophe Georges, president and CEO of Bentley, attributed the record year in 2021, in part, to a strong economic recovery and low interest rates, factors which have generally increased automotive demand. However, some new model variants have also helped.

Considering the small number of sales, a new model, or even new model versions, can have a huge impact on sales in the ultra-luxury market. Rolls-Royce sales were boosted by the fact that last year was the first full year of production for the redesigned Rolls-Royce Ghost sedan. With a starting price of just over $ 300,000, it is considered a more practical and affordable alternative to the enormous Phantom. Rolls-Royce also featured a Black Badge version of the Ghost, a color and trim option with blackened chrome elements including the grille and Spirit of Ecstasy statuette above it. The Black Badge versions proved popular with young Rolls-Royce buyers.

A new version of the Flying Spur sedan helped boost the brand's sales.

Bentley, meanwhile, attributed much of its success to a new hybrid option. Twenty percent of all Bentley Bentayga SUVs sold, the brand’s most popular model, were the hybrid introduced last year. Bentayga sales increased 48% from 2020. Sales of Bentley’s sedan model, the Flying Spur, increased 88% thanks to the introduction of a cheaper version with a V8 engine in addition to the 12 cylinders with which it was previously available. .

These aren’t just new models, however. Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Lamborghini have noted increased interest in several model lines. SUVs are particularly popular and also attract new customers who then look at other products to add to their very spacious garages.

“Demand is increasing,” said Winkelmann of Lamborghini. “And above all, via the Urus [SUV] customers, we also have early approaches to super sports cars. “

Rolls-Royce and Lamborghini claim to have orders for cars they will build well this year. In this part of the market, cars are typically built to specific customer orders, and buyers often wait weeks or months for them to be ready.

In addition to having a record year for the number of sales, Rolls-Royce also claimed a record year for the average price. This figure includes an extreme example, however. The Rolls-Royce Boat Tail, of which only three are in production, is said to have cost around $ 25 million each.

Georges of Bentley has said he expects 2022 to continue to be strong. The company will continue to offer more model variants, such as a hybrid version of the Flying Spur sedan. The economy, too, looks likely to continue to do well into the new year, he said.

“But then we don’t know,” he said. “We don’t have a crystal ball.”