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Luxury carmaker Bentley had a record year in 2020 as other automakers struggled in pandemic

The 2020 Bentley Continental GT First Edition

Mack Hogan | CNBC

Bentley Motors sold a record number of its luxury sedans and SUVs last year as the rest of the auto industry struggled to stem losses from coronavirus pandemic, the 101-year-old carmaker said Tuesday.

The Volkswagen-owned company sold 11,206 vehicles in 2020 — despite a seven-week closure of its factory in England during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic last spring. The company sold 11,006 cars in 2019.

Bentley sells some of the most expensive and rare cars in the world. Its entry level SUV, the Bentayga, starts at around $180,000 while its most exclusive model, the Mulliner Bacalar, sells for around $2 million.

Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark said he is “cautiously optimistic” regarding business in 2021 “as much remains uncertain,” according to a press release. He said last year’s sales record is a “strong measure” of the company’s potential as it pivots to become a fully electric car company by 2030.

Sales in the Americas rose by 4.2% and remained Bentley’s top market in 2020, but its growth came from a whopping 48.5% sales jump in China. The two markets accounted for 53% of Bentley’s sales in 2020, according to the company. That offset sales declines in the United Kingdom, Europe and the Middle East in 2020.


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