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Bentley, Rolls-Royce reach record sales in 2012

It's good business when a few thousand cars make billions of dollars.

By Clifford Atiyeh Jan 10, 2013 3:02PM
Bentley and Rolls-Royce make so much off of so little that sometimes, we wonder if they're real-estate agents rather than automakers.

Both German-owned British luxury brands posted record sales in 2012. Bentley, under the Volkswagen Group, sold 8,510 cars, a 22 percent increase over 2011. Rolls-Royce, owned by the BMW Group, sold 3,575 cars, just 37 cars more than in 2011.

Here's a better way to think about it. Taking an average sale price of $300,000 for Bentley and $400,000 for Rolls-Royce, the two automakers pulled in $2.5 billion and $1.4 billion in revenue last year, respectively. Likely, it's much more.

Considering that the best-selling Phantom and Continental GT, both of which were mildly updated for 2012, have not seen a thorough redesign since their 2003 introduction, the profits must be enormous by now. (We've overheard that Rolls-Royce was more profitable than BMW last year, but of course, no one will go on record to claim that.)

Most impressive is that Rolls-Royce more than tripled its sales in just three years. In 2009, sales were a hair over 1,000 cars, but with the introduction of the more "affordable" Ghost in 2010, sales shot to 2,711 that year. Still, Rolls-Royce has assured us they aren't interested in chasing sales like Bentley, which is pushing an SUV in an attempt to break the 10,000 barrier as it did in 2007.

It is, however, planning a 2-door Ghost that will be less expensive than the Phantom Drophead, likely to be revealed sometime this year. Rolls-Royce also opened and refurbished 30 dealerships worldwide last year, including opening the largest dealership in the U.S. on Long Island, N.Y.

Interesting still, the new Bentley Continental V8 and its lower base price captured fewer than 20 percent of all Continental sales. We thought it was more fun, but the 12-cylinder car was and likely will remain top dog.

Here are some more tidbits:
  • Two-fifths of all Bentley Mulsanne models were shipped to China, which buys the most Bentley sedans of any region.
  • Japan saw a 73 percent jump in Bentley sales to 190 cars.
  • Nearly every Phantom and three out of four Ghost models were custom-ordered.
  • Rolls-Royce sold 63 percent more cars to Saudi Arabia.

It's not bad work if you can get it.

[Source: Bentley via Newspress, Rolls-Royce]

Jan 11, 2013 8:24AM
The reality Troy is that a huge portion of their sales AREN'T here in the US, they are overseas in developing markets.  I don't think tax increases will have any effect on sales at all.
Jan 11, 2013 8:54AM
I had a 1953 Bentley...I loved it...Had less than 3 days and doubled my money...unreal...
Great to own for a short time and sell...
They are VERY expensive to maintain!
Can't beat them for looks...Like a beautiful woman...without the resale value!
Jan 11, 2013 10:12AM
I understand that these manufacturers are catering to a world wide market . But why the "envy" ? Aspiring to a solid, secure, comfortable, middle class lifestyle used to be the American Dream. Since when did begrudging the success of others, especially the most successful of us, replace that simple "dream" ? Could it be that 30 years of "supply side" economic policies (and its irresponsible companion social dogma, that seeks to divide those who are struggling in the middle and lower middle), where many of those at the top benefit at the expense of others, rather than succeeding BECAUSE of a prosperous middle and working class, could be the reason ? 
Jan 11, 2013 9:11AM
Nearly 1/2 of all Mulsannes were shipped to China. Whats wrong with this picture??? We need the 80% rule. We need it now. When passed it will become part of our Constitution that states that 80% of all products consumed in the USA will be made in the USA by real Americans using parts that 100% made in the USA. 
This is the only thing that will save America. 
Jan 11, 2013 9:18AM




Jan 11, 2013 10:24AM

Honestly who cares.  They aren't american companies, and the only people that can afford these hedonistic vehicles are those that have more money than they know what to do with.

Jan 11, 2013 10:12AM
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If given the choice, I would much prefer a completely restored (numbers matching) vintage American muscle car esp, a 19701/2 Ram Air 1V Trans Am; 1970 LT1 Z/28 Camaro or 1973 Trans Am SD455 just to name a few. These exciting cars were available to the general public until forced into ''extinction'' by ever tightening emission laws.
Jan 11, 2013 10:36AM
Hey people the fiscal cliff problems werent cause we (the working taxpayer) was paying too little its cause the "president" has a blank checkbook and keeps writing checks for stupid stuff that is not necessary and he is spending way too much money, more money than it takes in... That my friends is the reason for the fiscal cliff... Did any of you notice that he signed a bill before the fiscal cliff giving everyone a raise in the house and senate?? There is no recession in the WH thats for sure... The higher taxes that 2013 brought were a tax on your health insurance to fund obamacare for those that choose not to go to work and have insurance that they pay for they want US to pay for it, and the SS tax that went up on us was for those who claim they are disabled and cant work frauding american tax payer money from the government which we pay for thats right the middle class pays 99 % of the taxes collected in this country people HELLO... Everyone of you that drank the kool aid i hope your happy with yourselves cause you all are helping bring this country in the toilet!! For those of you that didnt vote for this mess we need to stand together and unite to fight off this madness in this country... Its time for a revolution for us to take back this place were supposed to call home!!!
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