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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 19, 2013 11:33AM

the well-heeled...their soles are getting thicker and thicker.


their cars are like buildings. rolling buildings.





Jan 13, 2013 7:38AM
I have reached the age now, that IF I could afford to purchase a Rolls or Bentley, and maintain it...
I wouldn't even drive myself. I would hire people to do my shopping and errands. And if I want a night out, I would hire a limo service to cart me around. 
Jan 12, 2013 10:33PM
Nobody who owns a Rolls or Bentley is a "self-made" man or woman. Anyone who buys one of these cars new inherited a significant chunk of money to start with. You can't make enough money to drop $300,000-$400,000 on a car unless you get a significant head start with an inheritance. And even the self-made man/woman that does make enough money to buy these cars usually don't buy them, due to the snobby reputation of RR cars, and the crass reputation of Bentleys.
Jan 12, 2013 12:01PM

I will admit that I ask this partly out of jealousy, but it is a valid question.  Why do Rich people buy cars with really really big engines, to drive 15mph or more under the speed limit?  The other day I was stuck behind a Porche Carrera GT4 Turbo.  What i felt was not jealousy, it was pity, for the poor car, being driven in maybe second gear.

Not too long ago, i passed a dodge viper on the highway.  Not because my car is so much faster, or because I break the law, but because the driver was going incredibly slow.

For people who claim to have worked really hard, they sure have a laid back driving style.

Jan 11, 2013 2:26PM
I'm totally disgusted that these 2 car companies are are owned by B.M.W. and V.W. These cars were the top end luxury cars, now, they are just more "flash"German car's
Jan 11, 2013 11:58AM
Yes when you have to fly the mechanic to your location from the factory  THEY CAN GET VERY EXPENSIVE TO FIX..
Jan 11, 2013 11:36AM
these cars are just targets that will be first to be atacked in times of chaos. i drive a beat up pick up like sam walton. you don't even have to be a billionaire to have one!!
Jan 11, 2013 11:32AM

Brood 550   You are so wrong.  You never have soooo much money that other people don't know what you should do with it.  My spouse and I bought enough polio vacine to immunize 1,100,000 children back in the mid-1990's and desiginated it could only be used in Africa!


A tree was planted on a university lawn near a medical science building and our names were placed beside the tree on a plaque.  You would be amazed at how many persons said that we only did the donation to show how wealthy we were and to get praise.....NO GOOD DEED EVER GOES UNPUNISHED!!!!!!!!



Jan 11, 2013 11:21AM
Dear Sunmoonstars,  I will send you a tiny violin for you to play at your next "pity party!"  Guess how I became a multimillionaire???   Like Smith barney said in their advertisement.....I worked, very, very hard, took no vacations for years and worked an average 16 to 18 hour day every day...weekends included!  And you begrudge me my Rolls and my Bentley!   Do what I did and you to can have one of each!!!!!!!
Jan 11, 2013 11:08AM
Hmm . . . $400k for a Rolls-Royce that seats 4 and gets 11/18 mpg.  Yeah, I got a better deal on my 2002 Hyundai that seats 5 and gets 30 mpg.  Now who's smarter!?  Bet my insurance payment is less, too . . . . 
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