Tough luxury market hits Bentley as sales drop 11% in 2023

By Nick Carey

LONDON (Reuters) – British luxury carmaker Bentley on Friday reported an 11% drop in vehicle sales for 2023 as high-end consumers felt the pinch of rising costs and slowing economies, with sales down in its top three markets – Europe, the Americas and China.

“The luxury market was not immune from the challenging market conditions seen around the world in the second half of 2023,” CEO Adrian Hallmark said in a statement. “We remain cautiously optimistic for the year ahead, with a continued robust global demand by market and model.”

Bentley said that despite the overall sales decline, personalized and bespoke content in vehicles rose 43% versus 2022. Adding custom finishes, such as leather and wood, means higher margins for Bentley.

Other luxury sellers such as Watches of Switzerland and Burberry have also warned of a slowdown in demand for high-end goods.

Bentley sold 13,560 cars in 2023, a year after the automaker cruised to record sales in 2022.

The British luxury unit of Volkswagen said sales were down 9% in the Americas, its leading market, while China and Europe dropped 18% and 15% respectively.

(Reporting By Nick Carey, Editing by Nick Zieminski)