Luxury Personalisation Boom Sees Bentley Profits Soar In 2023

Three quarters of Bentley customers in 2023 had personalised their cars with its Mulliner division. 

It would seem that simply owning any old Bentley just doesn’t cut it with those who can afford it any more, as the British luxury marque has recently revealed that three quarters of its customers last year had their cars customised with its Mulliner division. And all the 46 billion different configurations available from the options range doesn’t come cheap of course, which has hence lead the Flying B brand to also reveal that its operating profits for the last year totalled a very healthy €589 million (RM 3.03 billion). 

In addition to the staggering 43% rise in personalisation commissions from 2022 too, Bentley’s rather chunky revenue of €2.938 billion (RM 15.2 billion) for 2023 is in large part also due to its customers having gone for its higher-end models. The purveyor of luxury automobiles stated for its Azure, S and Speed variants were particularly enticing to its clientele, with these trims alone seeing a rise in uptake by a staggering 70% from the 30% it accounted for in 2022.

Though while customers tended to purchase fancier cars from them in 2023, Bentley unfortunately did not manage to go for three-in-a-row in terms of record shattering annual sales figures. That said, its total deliveries in 2023 of 13,560 cars is still to be the automaker’s third highest retail figure in history.

Despite the higher margins on its cars sold too, Bentley rather interestingly saw its return on sales drop marginally from 20.9% from the year before, to 20.1% last year. This was nevertheless explained away by the luxury marque as being due to ‘upfront expenditures for future products, and planned reduced volumes due to life cycle effects’.

Bentley claims during its reporting of financial results for its latest financial performance to support the company’s industry-leading Beyond100 strategy, as it drives towards self-funding of the transformation of its entire product range to electric and becoming carbon neutral by 2030. This claim however might be not the most accurate already, especially if recent reporting of Bentley having pushed back its full EV goals to 2033 is to be believed that is. 

Going slightly further into the details regarding Bentley’s revised electrification goals from the latest automotive reporting too, it would seem that production difficulties with its upcoming premiere EV has pushed its initial launch date back a full year to 2026. The Flying B marque has also apparently committed to reverting a large chunk of its investments into a new wave of PHEVs, which are to supposedly remain on sale early into the next decade to meet demand.

Getting back to its 2023 financial results meanwhile, Adrian Hallmark, Chairman and CEO of Bentley Motors, commented:

“Last year marked a further positive performance in our transformation journey, despite an increasingly volatile geopolitical and business environment. We took another big step forward on our strategy to focus on customer value rather than volume, and our well-balanced export success, disciplined cost management and ability to maximise personalisation proved our resilience and strong foundations to build upon.

“With uncertain market conditions set to continue during the year ahead, we will adapt our business model to ensure we remain in a balanced position, ready to adjust to increases or decreases in demand. Our focus on value over volume will be further strengthened and we look forward to our major product launch events in the second half of 2024.”

The trend for SUV buying continued as Bentayga remained Bentley’s number one model, accounting for 44% of total sales volume and reinforcing its position as the most successful luxury SUV in the world. Furthermore, consistent appeal continued for the Continental GT and GT Convertible, accounting for nearly a third of sales, 31%, with the Flying Spur, the world’s finest luxury four-door grand tourer, reaching 25% of total sales volume.

In spite of challenging conditions in key regions around the world, the Americas maintained its position as the biggest selling global market. Interestingly, Bentley’s home market in the UK is now the number one selling region for hybrid models by proportion, with 27% of sales from relevant model lines in 2023 selected as a hybrid option.

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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