Buying new isn't always the answer.
As the world digs its way out of the pandemic, automakers continue to suffer from a semiconductor chip shortage with far fewer new vehicles arriving on dealership lots as a result. A significant majority of that news coverage has focused on mainstream brands like GM and Ford, but what about luxury marques such as Bentley and Rolls-Royce? More interestingly, how are their ultra-wealthy customers handling the shortage?
Automotive News reports that both brands are seeing significant increases in their certified pre-owned programs. Nearly 75 percent of Rolls-Royce North American sales lately have come from its Provenance used car program, which is very selective about the vehicles it accepts. Not long ago, one out of three vehicles sold was pre-owned.
As for Bentley, overall certified pre-owned sales increased by 150 percent from January to May of this year. Despite their wealth, those in the market for a Rolls-Royce Cullinan or Bentley Bentayga sometimes prefer buying certified pre-owned regardless of whether or not there's a limited new vehicle supply. A new Rolls-Royce Wraith, for example, lists at around $345,000 but it depreciates 20 percent the moment it's driven off the lot. Another 40 percent is lost after just five years of ownership.
Wealthy customers also like saving money regarding residual values. These exclusive pre-owned programs have multiple levels of inspection and warranty options along with maintenance that makes purchasing a low-mileage two- or three-year-old vehicle a smarter deal.
Used Bentleys have a 79-point technical inspection process plus a 12-month warranty and no mileage limit. Another key reason for the used vehicle program upticks: instant gratification. Buyers don't have to wait several months for their custom orders to arrive. They can often drive home their new dream car the day of purchase. Both carmakers say they have been largely unaffected by the chip shortage with high demand and stellar sales.
Certified pre-owned programs are also vital because they serve as a gateway into the brands. Buying a certified used vehicle is oftentimes the first step before becoming repeat customers. And that often leads to buying new within only a few years' time.