How did Bentley break sales records in 2020?

Jon Lawson

With various different stages of lockdown grinding on across the planet car manufacturers are finding new ways to continue to trade. According to a recent survey by UK vendor, online sales increased, and the buyer demographic also shifted with more older customers trying online purchasing for the first time. Spokesman for the company Christofer Lloyd commented, “2020 was an unpredictable year for most of us, disrupting the car market in new ways and clearly driving customers online like never before. Customers decided to spend more on their cars, often by choosing slightly older and more prestigious cars, which was a phenomenon we began to see especially in the wake of the first countrywide lockdown. Brand loyalties also showed signs of changing as more people than ever before decided to opt for German models, which often edged out more traditional choices - especially among younger customers.”

Luxury manufacturer Bentley is one of the companies that has taken the entire sales process online. The Bentayga, Continental GT or Flying Spur models come with a dizzying array of up to 10 billion possible product configurations per model, but one-to-one online car immersion sessions, individual video handovers and digital commissioning appointments have been helping customers make sense of it all. Sarah Simpson, Regional Director, UK, noted: “Since the pandemic struck, we have had to take the ownership experience to a different level. Our Digital Commissioning Experience maintains the personal relationship through digital channels and helps our customers navigate through the extensive Bentley options, alongside one of our trained experts. At the same time, ensuring a Covid-safe and compliant experience from the very beginning, until they drive their tailored Bentley for the very first time.”

This sales approach is clearly working. Bentley had a good 2020, despite the global conditions. The company sold 11,206 cars, the most ever in single year in its 101 year history. Adrian Hallmark, Chairman and CEO said, “Even though we anticipated greater sales before the pandemic struck, when you consider the level of restrictions around the world for the majority of the year, to achieve a record sales performance is a strong measure of our potential. As we look to the year ahead we remain cautiously optimistic as much remains uncertain. One thing that doesn’t is our commitment to progress, the first step of which is the launch of the Bentayga Hybrid. This is one of nine new models we will launch this year as we continue on our Beyond100 strategic path and our accelerated journey towards becoming a fully electrified car company by 2030.” 

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