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 Bentayga, Flying Spur and Continental GT to survive the switch to electric
Conti GT
Bentley

Bentley Bentayga, Flying Spur and Continental GT to survive the switch to electric

The Bentley CEO sees no reason to axe the brand’s established model lines as it moves into the all-electric future
6 Jul 2021
Exclusive: Bentley boss says UK car industry needs to improve diversity
Adrian Hallmark
Bentley

Exclusive: Bentley boss says UK car industry needs to improve diversity

Bentley boss Adrian Hallmark thinks the UK car industry “needs to seek out minorities and women”
24 Jun 2021
"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

Most Popular

Friends reunited: buying back a Porsche 911
Porsche 911
Porsche 911 Coupe

Friends reunited: buying back a Porsche 911

How perfect timing led a Porsche 911 fanatic to buy back his old car
14 Oct 2021
New Ford Focus unveiled with 2021 facelift and tech updates
Ford Focus ST Line - front
Ford Focus Hatchback

New Ford Focus unveiled with 2021 facelift and tech updates

Ford has given the Focus hatchback a refresh for 2021, with a new design and an improved infotainment suite
14 Oct 2021
New Skoda Kodiaq SportLine 2021 review
Skoda Kodiaq SportLine - front
Skoda Kodiaq SUV

New Skoda Kodiaq SportLine 2021 review

The seven-seat Skoda Kodiaq SUV gets styling tweaks and tech upgrades in facelift
15 Oct 2021