Bentley announced strong sales for the first six months of 2011, with 2,978 new cars being sold, which is 20% higher than for the same period last year.
The United States of America remain the largest market for Bentley, followed by China, where sales have risen by 57 per cent. This means that one in four new Bentleys – 680 in total – have been sold there so far this year.
European sales continued to perform strongly with sales increasingly by a quarter to 494. Sales in the Americas were also up by 23% with 907 cars sold in the first half of 2011.
The UK also saw growth, albeit slightly lower at 6% selling 533 cars, with low consumer confidence being blamed.
Wolfgang Dürheimer, Bentley’s Chief Executive said:
“Interest in our product range is increasing and with our largest markets achieving significant growth we are on track to meet our targets for the full year.
“It’s an exciting time for Bentley as we continue to invest in new product development, the results of which will be seen for months to come. With more new model launches later this year we foresee this growth continuing into 2012 and beyond.”
Sales did, however, dip slightly in the Asia-Pacific region, largely due to the natural disaster in Japan, while the ongoing political unrest in the Middle East also saw demand slowing.
Bentley’s strong sales growth has allowed it to invest heavily in new product development as well as apprenticeships. As a significant employer in the UK, Bentley employs just under 4,000 people in Crewe. The Crewe plant is home to all Bentley operations including design, R&D, engineering and production. With so much human capital in the business, Bentley chose to host a seminar at the recent WorldSkills London 2011.
The seminar, which focused on the value and contribution that apprentices make to the company and the UK economy at large, was underpinned by Bentley’s strong record in exports, worth just over £500 million last year.
Christine Gaskell, Bentley Motors’ Member of the Board for Personnel said:
“Bentley has always been strongly committed to skills development and apprenticeships and has been very active in promoting careers in the industry. This year we have seen a 300% increase in apprenticeship applications which demonstrates the success of our awareness rising activities attracting young people into the company.”
WorldSkills London 2011 saw 1,000 competitors (under 25 years) from over 50 countries compete in 45 separate skills competitions across seven sectors, including health, agriculture, engineering and the arts.
Bentley has also recently received confirmation of a conditional allocation of £1.68 million financial support from the Regional Growth Fund, which is administered by the UK Department for Business. The award, subject to due diligence, will be used to help maintain and enhance skills amongst its workforce.
Christine Gaskell, Member of the Board for Personnel commented:
“This is fantastic news. Bentley exports over 80% of our products and as global economies continue to recover we are starting to see our investment in new models such as the new Continental GT and the Mulsanne begin to pay off. We are now recruiting across the board, not only in areas such as production and quality, but also in sales and marketing to ensure we are able to maximise the opportunities for growth.”
Bentley’s Continental range has been the most successful in the company’s history, selling over 43,000 to date.