Luxury Car

Rolls-Royce, Bentley, BMW Sales Surge as Cheaper Brands Lag Behind

BERLIN—Luxurious automobile manufacturers reminiscent of Rolls-Royce, Bentley,




BMW -6.25%

have reported report gross sales, because of prospects who’ve craved them and producers which have directed scarce chips towards their most worthwhile fashions.

With worldwide journey stalled throughout the pandemic and lots of avenues of flashy spending closed to them, a younger technology of luxury-car customers went on a buying spree final yr.

In the meantime, producers dealing with shortages of semiconductors prioritized sure fashions.

“We’re hardly affected by the chip scarcity,” stated

Alain Favey,

gross sales chief at Bentley Motors Ltd., which is owned by German auto maker

Volkswagen AG


“The method within the VW group may be very centralized. One of many parts to resolve on allocation is the margin of profitability. From that perspective we’re prioritized, so we managed to get all the chips we wanted,” Mr. Favey stated.

Different sorts of producers coping with a scarcity of chips and different parts have given precedence to big-ticket merchandise for related causes, making it more durable for customers to search out cheaper options.

Bentley bought 14,659 automobiles final yr, a rise of 31% from the yr earlier than and a report for the corporate. Porsche, additionally owned by VW, bought 301,915 automobiles, a rise of 11% world-wide. Each manufacturers posted progress within the U.S., Europe, and China.

By comparability, VW’s namesake model, its largest enterprise by unit gross sales, struggled all year long to maintain its factories working due to the chip scarcity. The primary plant in Wolfsburg labored underneath capability and needed to scrap shifts all year long.

Because of this, gross sales took a success, falling 8.1% to 4.9 million autos world-wide. Gross sales in China, the model’s largest single market, dropped 14.8%.

VW’s combined efficiency displays that of different mass-market producers: Whereas typical sedans, hatchbacks and station wagons languished, sport-utility autos and new electrical autos made huge good points.


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Within the U.S., BMW grew gross sales by 21% because the top-selling luxurious model for the third yr in a row, promoting 336,644 autos.

Toyota Motor Corp.’s

Lexus got here in second, promoting 304,476 autos, or 11% greater than the earlier yr.

Tesla Inc.

TSLA 4.19%

was in a position to sidestep a few of the chip scarcity’s impacts, and a full yr of gross sales for its most up-to-date Mannequin Y SUV helped to extend international deliveries by 87%. Within the U.S., Tesla outsold


which reported U.S. gross sales of 276,102 autos in 2021. Tesla doesn’t get away its gross sales by area, however Ward’s Intelligence, a consulting agency, estimates that Tesla bought round 299,000 autos within the U.S. final yr.

Rolls-Royce, owned by

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG

BMW -6.25%

, whose tailored superluxury automobiles have beginning costs of greater than $300,000, bought a report 5,586 automobiles final yr, up 49% from the yr earlier than.

Martin Fritsches, president of Rolls-Royce Motor Automobiles Americas, stated that patrons of superluxury automobiles like Rolls-Royce are youthful immediately. The common age of a buyer is about 43 years outdated, which suggests lots of their clientele are of their 30s.

Partly, Mr. Fritsches stated, Rolls-Royce’s rich prospects have been sheltered from the hardships felt by many throughout the pandemic. They benefited extra from the financial restoration, the cryptocurrency growth and hovering inventory costs. And most of the patrons are first-time Rolls homeowners, he stated, together with younger entrepreneurs who received wealthy on the inventory market and cryptocurrencies.

Bentley bought 14,659 automobiles final yr, a rise of 31% from the yr earlier than and a report for the corporate.


ali haider/Shutterstock

New electrical autos had been one other driver of progress. BMW, which fared higher than lots of its rivals within the chip squeeze, bought 2.5 million autos final yr, a rise of 8.4%. Of the whole, the corporate bought 103,855 absolutely electrical autos.

“Our goal for 2022 is to greater than double the gross sales of absolutely electrical autos,” stated

Pieter Nota,

BMW’s gross sales chief. He stated BMW was properly equipped with chips all through 2021 and thru new direct relationships with chip makers he anticipated to get by means of 2022.

Mr. Nota stated the results of the chip scarcity would doubtless proceed to be felt within the first half of this yr, however added that BMW’s efforts to mitigate the disaster by means of orders and direct relationships with chip suppliers ought to assist ease the affect once more this yr.

Porsche stated its electrical sporty sedan, the Taycan, outsold the corporate’s iconic 911 sports activities automobile final yr, marking a symbolic shift as even Porsche prospects start to embrace electrical automobiles.

IHS Markit,

a world business advisor, is forecasting new gentle car gross sales will rise 3.7% this yr to 82.4 million autos, up from 2.9% in 2021 when progress was constrained by supply-chain disruptions. It expects new gentle car gross sales within the U.S. will enhance about 2.6% this yr to fifteen.5 million autos.

Basic Motors plans to section out practically all of its fuel and diesel autos by 2035. Main that transition is the primary absolutely electrical Cadillac. WSJ’s Mike Colias visited a GM testing web site for a experience and an unique interview with GM’s President Mark L. Reuss. Photograph Illustration: Alexander Hotz

With the onset of the pandemic and widespread manufacturing facility shutdowns in 2020, auto manufacturing dropped about 16% from 2019 to 74.6 million autos, in accordance with Wards Intelligence and LMC Automotive, consulting agency teams. They stated the auto business clawed again a few of this final yr, with international output rising about 2% to 76.2 million autos. They forecast that international output will rebound 13% to 85.8 million autos this yr, nonetheless beneath pre-pandemic ranges.

Regardless of report gross sales, Mr. Fritsches stated that Rolls-Royce will stay a small, intimate luxurious model centered on creating experiences for its prospects. To attraction to youthful prospects, Rolls-Royce is connecting homeowners by means of an app known as Whispers, which you’ll solely entry in the event you truly personal a Rolls-Royce.

“Our prospects search for the bespoke expertise,” Mr. Fritsches stated. “I can assure you that quantity will not be and can by no means be a spotlight matter for us.”

Write to William Boston at [email protected]

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