2012 Bentley Continental GTCEnlarge Photo
Then the crisis hit and it was no longer in fashion to be buying up luxury cars with six-figure pricetags, sending sales for ultra-luxury marques like Bentley on a downward slope.
Well, slowly but surely Bentley’s sales have improved, mostly thanks to strong demand from emerging markets such as China and Russia.
The automaker has announced today that it managed to sell 7,003 cars in 2011, a 37 percent increase on levels from just one year ago. What’s more interesting is that in December Bentley sold 1,059 cars, its best single month since the financial crisis and second highest ever in its history, suggesting that the sales growth shows no sign of slowing.
The U.S. continues to be Bentley’s number one market with 2,021 cars sold in 2011, an increase of 32 percent. For the first time ever, however, China took second spot with sales for the region virtually doubling to 1,839 units and surpassing the previous year’s record just seven months into the year. This achievement is even more remarkable considering Bentley has been present in the Chinese market (not including Hong Kong) for less than ten years.
Other regions have also performed very well. Continental European sales rebounded to 1,187 (an increase of 53 percent) led by strong demand in Germany where sales have increased by a staggering 88 percent.
Bentley’s home-market, the UK, proved to be extremely challenging over the past months, but still saw an increase of over five per cent with 1,031 cars sold.
Now, with the new V-8 range coming onto the market, as well as a SUV in the pipeline, Bentley’s future is looking rosy, although there is the very real possibility that current global economic conditions may still dampen performance in the coming year.