Bentley order books bulging after record year despite Covid

Pandemic hasn’t stopped Bentley recording even more orders in 2021 after record year in 2020

Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark has revealed that the British brand’s order books in 2021 are in very good health in spite of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

Speaking at the launch of the new Continental GT Speed, Hallmark revealed that orders at the start of 2021 showed a 50 per cent increase on those logged at the start of the previous year - crucially a period before the Covid-19 pandemic really took hold.

Back in January Bentley announced record sales for the 2020 calendar year, delivering 11,206 vehicles to customers to turn a €20 million (£17.2 million) profit despite potential for “a loss of several hundred million at the worst point in May last year.”

However, moving back to break even and into profit towards the end of 2020, the signs ahead for 2021 are even more positive, with as many as nine new Bentley models set for launch this year - including the Bentayga plug-in hybrid revealed in January and the new Continental GT Speed.

“We don’t want to be too enthusiastic about this - partly because we know what happened last year,” Hallmark said. “We began 2020 with the strongest orDer bank since 2003. We started this January with 50 per cent more orders than we did last January, even through the Covid crisis.”

“Our sales rate now is some 30 per cent above last year - bear in mind last year was a record year - but each month we’re getting more orders in than we’re delivering cars to customers. So the order bank has not only grown for January, but it’s also grown in the last two months.”

Bentley Flying Spur

China was the big driver in Bentley’s post-Covid recovery as the far Eastern nation entered the Covid-19 crisis first so it was therefore logical that it began to exit it first too, with the nation’s economy showing green shoots earlier than other major economies across the globe.

Hallmark also outlined that preparations for a no deal Brexit actually put Bentley in prime position for its Covid recovery, underpinning the brand’s superb financial results in 2020.

Hallmark said: “Brexit was the one thing that we did expect to cause us problems - in the end it was something else. We spent a lot of time preparing for Brexit, but we barely noticed it happened because we had a team in our company that worked tirelessly for two and a half years to identify everything that could go wrong or change with a hard Brexit. Interestingly, all of the things we did for Brexit helped us with Covid.”

Bentley extended its component capacity to ensure stock supplies could support up to 21 days of production once the brand’s lines in its Crewe factory resumed this year.

“We plan for the best but prepare for the worst,” he said.

The 200,000th Bentley will be built this month. Back in 2003 when the Volkswagen-era Continental GT first launched the brand had sold a total of 44,000 cars since it was set-up in 1919. In the intervening 18 years Bentley has shifted 156,000 vehicles worldwide.

Check out the latest on Bentley's plans to become an electric-only manufacturer here...

Recommended

"Bentley's move to electric won't be binary" says CEO
Bentley
Bentley

"Bentley's move to electric won't be binary" says CEO

Brand’s switch to fully electric cars won’t happen overnight, with petrol power still very much in the frame short term
24 Mar 2021
First Blower Bentley continuation model completed
Bentley Blower continuation - front studio
Bentley

First Blower Bentley continuation model completed

First new Bentley Blower for 90 years – and it’ll be used as a test mule for an upcoming production run of 12 vehicles
9 Dec 2020
Classic electric car conversions boom in popularity
Electric cars

Classic electric car conversions boom in popularity

Retrofitting electric powertrains to classic cars is becoming fashionable for the environmentally conscious and well-heeled
24 Jun 2020
New £1.5million Bentley Bacalar shown in variety of colours
Bentley

New £1.5million Bentley Bacalar shown in variety of colours

Limited run of 12 two-seat Bentley Bacalar roadsters already accounted for, but Crewe brand gives its customers inspiration with new design configurat…
23 Jun 2020

Most Popular

'Nissan has been quietly building an advantage over electric car rivals'
Opinion Nissan EV
Nissan

'Nissan has been quietly building an advantage over electric car rivals'

Steve Fowler thinks Nissan is in a great position to build on the Leaf's success
8 Apr 2021
New 2021 Volkswagen Transporter T7 van teased
New 2021 Volkswagen Transporter T7 van teased
Volkswagen Transporter

New 2021 Volkswagen Transporter T7 van teased

Next-generation Volkswagen Transporter T7 will break cover later this year with a new plug-in hybrid powertrain
14 Apr 2021
New 2021 Audi Q4 e-tron on sale now, priced from £40,750
Audi Q4 e-tron - front
Audi Q4 e-tron

New 2021 Audi Q4 e-tron on sale now, priced from £40,750

Two body styles, three powertrains and four trim-levels confirmed for Audi’s compact Q4 EV, including a 295bhp quattro option
15 Apr 2021