Luxury cars did not experience the crisis in 2021

At the top of an automotive market paralyzed by the health crisis, luxury cars shine: Rolls-Royce, Bentley and even Bugatti had a record year in 2021, with SUVs leading the way in sales.

Rolls-Royce improved on its all-time record from 2019 by selling 5,586 cars. Wealthy customers flocked to the new Ghost and the Cullinan SUV, sold from 300,000 euros in France.

Bentley and Lamborghini also presented their sales records this week with respectively 14,659 and 8,405 cars sold worldwide, in particular thanks to their Bentayga and Urus SUVs, sold around 200,000 euros.

As for Bugatti, the brand welcomed the « best financial year ever in the history of the company », with 150 cars ordered, for an entry ticket of around three million euros. All the production of Chiron which was planned, that is to say approximately 500 copies, has now passed.

Record demand heralds the end of Bugatti Chiron production

All Bugatti Chiron are now sold.

« It’s the same everywhere: after crises, the rich are richer and the poor are poorer », philosopher Adolfo De Stefani Cosentino, the president of the Italian Federation of dealers (Federauto). « Luxury and premium held up much better than the generalist segments ».

“There is a lot of money ready to be spent”, Rolls-Royce boss Torsten Muller-Otvos said in an interview with AFP in May 2021. « I was impressed by the number of customers who told us that with the Covid, they understood that they could die tomorrow and that now is the time to enjoy life ».

In parallel with the health crisis, the global automotive industry is hit by a shortage of components, in particular electronic chips, which prevent the production of vehicles when order books are full. The crisis has prevented the production of 9.5 to 11 million vehicles globally in 2021, according to the firm PwC.

On the premium side, BMW recorded a record year with 2.2 million cars sold, particularly in China and the United States. Its rival Mercedes-Benz saw its global sales drop 5% due to the shortage of chips, but sales of its AMG sports division and its luxury brand Maybach have exploded.

« Only the most requested vehicles are produced », underlines José Baghdad, partner and head of the automotive sector at PwC France and Maghreb. « Premium manufacturers are also ready to buy slightly more expensive components ».

Ducati Monster 2021

In the world of motorcycles, Ducati also experienced good sales growth.

And the pleasures of luxury are not only experienced on four wheels: Ducati motorcycles also improved their sales record in 2021, with nearly 60,000 units sold worldwide.

« There is a macroeconomic factor: part of the population has become very wealthy in recent years and has the capacity to buy luxury and very large luxury vehicles », underlines the analyst. In the ultra-luxury micro-market, « these cars have also shown in recent years that they are not losing value and even gaining value ».

SUVs benefit from a global fashion effect but they are also the most accessible vehicles of these brands. Ferrari, which is due to publish its results in early February, is also due to present its first SUV this year, the Purosangue.

Another marker of the automobile of the 2020s, electrification also ends up affecting luxury, as « a new breath but a real challenge », underlines José Baghdad at PwC. « One of the interests of these brands was the motorization, with a particular power and sound. By switching to electric, it will be more difficult to distinguish them ».

At Porsche (which also recorded a record year by exceeding 300,000 vehicles sold, particularly in China and America), the legendary sporty 911 was overtaken by the Taycan electric sedan, which saw its sales double in one year. (with AFP)

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