Bentley posts record 2020 sales thanks to Chinese demand

Bentley showcases its latest models at the Beijing auto show in September 2020. (Photo:

Most carmakers struggled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Bentley enjoyed the best year in its 101-year history, thanks to robust demand in China.

The British luxury carmaker sold 11,206 vehicles in 2020, up 2 percent from 2019. Sales in China totaled 2,880 in the year, up 48 percent year-on-year due to the popularity of the new Flying Spur and the new Bentayga SUV.

Globally, the Bentayga remained the most popular Bentley model. It accounted for 37 percent of the marque's sales in 2020.

Bentley's sales in the Americas moved up 4 percent year-on-year, to 3,035. However, demand fell 18 percent in Europe and 14 percent in the Middle East.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bentley's plant in Crewe, England, did not produce vehicles for seven weeks from March 2020. It then ran at half its normal output in the subsequent nine weeks, but new models helped to drive overall sales.

Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark said the carmaker had anticipated greater sales but then the coronavirus pandemic broke out.

The carmaker is planning to launch nine models in 2021. "As we look to the year ahead, we remain cautiously optimistic as much remains uncertain," said Hallmark.