Why build more when you're already earning money?
Bentley doesn't have the typical massive assembly lines of mainstream automakers, such as Ford and Chevy. It doesn't need them or want them. As we all know, Bentleys have always been a cut above the rest in both performance and all-out luxury, two things customers are more than willing to pay for. In fact, they're able and more than happy to pay significant premiums to join the Bentley ownership club, and it's for that reason why Bentley continues to keep annual production numbers relatively tame.
Speaking to Autocar, Bentley chief Adrian Hallmark admitted the brand has maintained around a 10,000-unit per year sales figure since 2007. This is quite interesting given the fact the Bentley Bentayga SUV hit the market for 2016 and has been its best-selling model ever since.
So why won't Bentley increase annual production in general, especially given the fact the Bentayga lineup is in high-demand? Because it doesn't have to in order to make money. Bentley's continued, and so far very successful, plan is to increase the profitability of each vehicle it sells. For example, the Continental GT currently sells for a whopping 22 percent above live price on average.
"We're not aiming for 15,000 or even 13,000," Hallmark said. Most automakers, including fellow VW Group brands Porsche and Audi, hope to expand annual growth, Bentley recognized years ago this formula isn't suitable. Maintaining exclusivity and profitability with that 10,000 or so capped production figure is also being accomplished by way of special editions and ridiculously expensive creations from in-house bespoke division Mulliner.
The 2021 Bentley Bacalar is the ideal example. Only 12 examples of the 6.0-liter W12-engined convertible will be built and all have been sold. Mulliner also happens to be the world's oldest coachbuilding company and wealthy customers are more than happy to wire them money to create the Bentley of their dreams.
But if you think Bentley's annual production is pretty low by industry standards, its Rolls-Royce rival sold even fewer cars last year, which just so happened to be its best sales year ever. A total of 5,152 Rolls-Royce vehicles were delivered to customers in 2019, a 25 percent increase over 2018.