It turns out customized Bentleys are more popular than anyone thought.
Bentley has just revealed its most luxurious Bentayga ever, and if the last year is anything to go by, it won't have any trouble selling the SUV. Wealthy individuals are everywhere these days and expensive cars are just part of the lifestyle. So how do you set yourself apart from your peers when each of you has a Bentley, a Ferrari, and a Bugatti? You create something unique by exploring a manufacturer's bespoke offerings, of course. For Bentley, that means calling upon its Mulliner division. Naturally, this will cost a considerable sum more than the asking price for the car itself, whichever model you choose, but Bentley says that demand for Mulliner bespoke customization has tripled since 2020. Clearly, spending big on custom touches is not a rare occurrence.
The Crewe, England-based automaker reports that "three Bentleys produced every day now contain individually-commissioned bespoke content." Demand for these touches has now increased by 200% since 2020, but as staggering as these figures are, it's worth remembering that 2020 was a very difficult year for the auto industry as a whole, so statistics are skewed without perspective and context. Even so, this news proves that the wealthy are easily parted from their money - so long as the product is exclusive enough.
To meet this astonishing demand and maximize the potential for earnings, Bentley is now adding new customization options to the Mulliner program.
Among the new options is the introduction of 18-karat gold-plated Organ Stops that "pay homage to the original Bentley Boys, whilst providing an iconic and timeless finish." The option was recently applied to one of Mulliner's limited edition cars, the Number 9 Edition by Mulliner, based on the Bentley Continental GT.
Another new option is the addition of more finishes of open-pore veneer, including Liquid Amber, Vavona, and Tamo Ash "in more sustainable open-pore finishes." Each of these is treated with an ultra-thin (0.1 millimeters in thickness) matte lacquer (solely for protection) so that you can feel the natural texture. In addition, this process uses 90% less lacquer. By comparison, the brand's High Gloss lacquer is 0.5 mm in thickness and has a glossy, smooth finish.
For those who aren't quite sure what they want, the Mulliner Personal Commissioning Guide now includes nine different designer suggestions. This will help even more customers spend extra on bespoke touches. Currently, the proportion of Bentleys with bespoke finishes has increased from 2% in 2020 to 6% of annual production today, and these new options are sure to elevate that even further.
In 2014, a specific design team was formed. By July 2021, 1,000 bespoke projects were completed by the team. Today, that figure is 1,350 and counting. What's more, these customers are personalizing more aspects of their cars than ever before: "In 2020, a customer would likely ask for two features; today, it's typically up to seven." With a total of 17 billion ways a Continental GT can be specified, the scope for customization is practically infinite. Let's just hope that these customers have some restraint.