LONDON — Bentley's first-quarter operating profit jumped 162 percent versus the same period last year, as soaring vehicle prices offset the loss of some vehicles at sea and pandemic-related delivery problems in China.
The Volkswagen Group unit said high customer interest in new models resulted in a record order book of just under 10,000 vehicles for the 102-year-old carmaker.
Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark said that about 200 vehicles, around 75 of them highly customized orders for specific customers, bound for the U.S. went down on a ship that caught fire off the Azores in February. Hallmark said those sales were largely recovered in April.
Chinese sales were hit by pandemic shutdowns, which also affected the ability to transport cars inland by truck.
"The crises that we've had with COVID, semiconductors and now the tragedy in Ukraine have not dented customers' willingness to invest in high luxury goods and certainly not in Bentleys," Hallmark told Reuters. "We're really doing well."
The sales dip follows a record year for Bentley in 2021, as pandemic travel restrictions left wealthy consumers with more disposable income, lifting premium and luxury vehicle sales in key global markets such as China and the United States.