An 82% growth in profit for British luxury carmaker Bentley helped to boost the Volkswagen Group’s premium car division – including Audi, Lamborghini and Ducati – to record 2022 financial results.
Bentley’s operating profit swelled by €319 million (£280m) last year as economic instability did little to dampen demand for a line-up which includes the Bentayga, Continental GT and Flying Spur, with sales rose by 4% to a record 15,174 units.
Overall, revenues jumped 19% year-on-year to €3.38bn (£2.97bn) at the Crewe-based OEM
Bentayga sales accounted for 42% of total sales, but it was demand for higher specification derivatives, higher option uptake and the sale of Limited Editions and coach-built collectibles that helped deliver a 20.9% return on sales across the year, Bentley said.
Chairman and chief executive Adrian Hallmark said: “Since the low point of 2018, the whole team at Crewe has been working intensively to restructure the business model, in parallel with launching successive segment leading new models and features. Last year marked a milestone in this journey.
“An almost €1 billion profit turnaround has been achieved since 2018 despite an unprecedented period of disruptions and crises including Brexit, COVID, semiconductor supply, Ukraine and UK economic instability.”
Bentley said in its results statement that its profitability would provide “self-funding basis” for its upcoming Beyond100 strategy.
Beyond100 will see a €3 billion investment in its Crewe factory ahead of the launch of five new electric vehicles (EV) from 2026.
Bentley’s UK car retail network will benefit from the addition of two new dealerships in 2023.
HR Owen’s multi-brand supercar facility at Hatfield opens this month and Rybrook is in the process of building a Bentley and Porsche showrooms in High Wycombe.
Profitability in Volkswagen’s other premium brands is set to drive forward initiatives elsewhere in the German OEM’s portfolio.
As a combined business unit, Audi, Lamborghini, Bentley and Ducati delivered record profits of €7.6bn (£6.85bn) last year on revenues of €61.8bn (£54.3bn).
This came despite a reduction in car sales from 1.68m to 1.63m in 2022.
Ducati’s volumes rose from 59,447 to 61,562 motorcycles in the period.
A strategy designed to more closely align the Audi and Ducati brands will now get underway, with around 100 dual-brand dealerships set to be opened across the globe.
The shift is a first for the VW Group and mirrors a joint franchise approach often adopted by BMW – with its BMW Motorrad motorcycle brand – and Honda.
No details have been shared about the planned volume of joint Audi/Ducati retail outlets destined for the UK, however.