Luxury car brands, such as Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Porsche and BMW saw record sales in 2021.
The automakers attribute the rise to a stall in international travel and their efforts to prioritize certain models over others amid a semiconductor chip shortage.
“We are hardly affected by the chip shortage,” Alain Favey, sales chief at Bentley Motors Ltd told the Wall Street Journal.
As part of Volkswagen AG, the company allocated chips to vehicles with greater profit margins, which Bentley’s fall into. This meant the division got all of the chips it needed, Favey said.
Bentley sold 14,659 cars last year, an increase of 31% from 2020, and a record for the company. Porsche, also owned by VW, sold 301,915 cars, marking an 11% increase world-wide. Both brands posted growth in the U.S., Europe, and China.
VW, the company’s biggest business by unit sales, struggled to keep its factories operating in 2021 because of the chip shortage. Its main plant in Wolfsburg worked under capacity and cut shifts throughout the year. As a result, sales fell 8.1% to 4.9 million vehicles world-wide, while sales in China dropped 14.8%.
BMW grew sales 21% in the U.S., making it the top-selling luxury brand for the third consecutive year. The company sold 336,644 vehicles. Toyota Motor Co’s Lexus came in second, selling 304,476 vehicles, or 11% more than in 2020.
Tesla increased global deliveries by 87%. Tesla outsold Mercedes-Benz, which reported U.S. sales of 276,102 vehicles in 2021. Ward’s Intelligence, a consulting firm, estimates Tesla sold around 299,000 vehicles in the U.S. in 2021.
Rolls-Royce, owned by Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, sold a record 5,586 cars last year, up 49% from 2020.
Martin Fritsches, president of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Americas, attributes the increase to the fact that Rolls-Royce’s wealthy customers were sheltered from the hardships felt by many during the pandemic. These customers benefited more from the economic recovery, the cryptocurrency boom and soaring stock prices. He noted many of the buyers were first-time Rolls owners.
Originally posted on Auto Dealer Today