[Source: CNN Business]
Despite broad concerns about the economy and fears of an impending recession, the ultra-wealthy seem to be doing just fine. Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Lamborghini, car brands that cater to billionaires, had record sales again last year.
In fact, it was the third record year in a row for Bentley and the second consecutive record for Rolls-Royce and Lamborghini.
Rolls-Royce delivered more than 6,000 vehicles last year, its first time topping that threshes
Rolls-Royce delivered more than 6,000 vehicles last year, its first time surpassing that mark in its 118-year history. To put that into perspective, though, Rolls-Royce’s parent company, BMW, sold about 2.4 million vehicles worldwide in 2022.
Lamborghini, meanwhile, delivered 9,233 vehicles last year, a 10% increase from the year before. Bentley, which sells vehicles that cost less than Rolls-Royces and that is more practical than most Lamborghini models, delivered 15,174 vehicles globally last year, a 4% increase over 2021, which was itself a record year. Both Bentley and Lamborghini are owned by Volkswagen Group, which sold almost 9 million vehicles globally in 2021.
SUVs played a large role in the outsized sales results for these brands. The Lamborghini Urus SUV accounted for more than half of that brand’s sales last year while, for Bentley, the Bentayga accounted for 42% of sales. (Lamborghini and Bentley are both part of the Volkswagen Group and their respective SUVs share substantial engineering.) The Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV accounted for nearly half of that brand’s sales last year.
Rolls-Royce chief executive Torsten Müller-Ötvös said he sees no letting up on sales acceleration. For one thing, the world keeps making more billionaires.
“When you look into the growth of ultra-high net worth individuals, so our clientele, basically,” he said, “that is forecast to rise over the next five years by two to three percent each year so there is potential, around the world, for more.”
The Americas were the largest single market for all three of these brands, with the United States accounting for the biggest share of that market.
Rolls-Royce currently has standing orders well into 2023, Müller-Ötvös said. Lamborghini has an order bank that reaches into the middle of 2024, the Italian supercar maker announced.
Not only are people buying more cars but also more expensive and more highly customized versions of those cars. The amount of money Rolls-Royce customers paid for options on their cars and SUVs rose to record levels last year.
The automaker has already purchased land near its Goodwood, England, factory to make room for a new paint shop to do more highly specialized custom paint work, Müller-Ötvös said. Base prices of Rolls-Royce’s models range from about $340,000 for the Ghost sedan and the Cullinan SUV, which make up the bulk of sales, to about $460,000 for the massive Phantom sedan. But the average price paid for a Rolls-Royce last year was over $500,000, the automaker said.
For Bentley, which offers a similarly broad spectrum of custom options, customers in the Americas added, on average, about $43,000 in options to their vehicles, said Michael Rocco, vice president for Bentley America. Those who went further and involved the brand’s Mulliner customization division, which handles things like unique paint colour and trims requests, spent around $75,000 in options on their vehicles.
Rolls-Royce also recently unveiled its first fully electric model, the Spectre, which will enter production soon. Although no customers have yet driven the car, orders are already vastly exceeding what the company had expected, Müller-Ötvös told reporters. He declined to give a specific number, though.
“What is probably happening is that it will exceed our volume assumptions, that is what I can tell you today,” he said.