Ultraluxury brands such as Bentley, Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce and Maserati are experiencing unprecedented success as all four set new sales records in 2014. Strong demand for those brands -- as well as Ferrari and Aston Martin -- has led forecasters to predict that overall global sales in the segment will grow by nearly 40 percent between now and 2020, helped by the arrival of new models, improved economic conditions in the U.S. and Europe, and the rising number of super-wealthy car buyers.
The bullish sales prediction is good news for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Volkswagen Group and BMW Group, which benefit from the strong profits generated by their ultraluxury subsidiaries. Ferrari and Maserati last year accounted for less than 1 percent of FCA’s global vehicle sales, but their combined 664 million euros in operating profit represented 21 percent of the group’s total of 3.2 billion euros. Ferrari’s 2014 operating margin was 14 percent while Maserati’s was 9.9 percent.
VW Group’s Bentley brand has not revealed its 2014 financial results but CEO Wolfgang Duerheimer is confident the brand’s record sales last year will result in a fourth consecutive year of profit. In 2013, Bentley generated an operating profit of 168 million euros on revenue of 1.68 billion euros resulting in a 10 percent margin. BMW’s Rolls-Royce does not disclose financial figures, but CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes said that the brand is “highly profitable.”