Bentley Needs to Start Turning a Profit—or Else
So sayeth the Piëchs and the Porsches.
If you want the most stripped-out, bare-bones Bentley Bentayga possible, it's going to cost a whopping $165,000. Upgrade from that model's twin-turbocharged V-8 to the also twin-turbo W-12 engine, though, and it will cost an extra $64,000. If you prefer the sleek new Continental GT, you'll pay at least $220,000. Unless you want the convertible, which will run you closer to $240,000. Surely, with six-figure prices like that, Bentley makes all sorts of profit, right? Apparently not.
Automotive News reports that the British ultra-luxury brand faced financial troubles last year. Through the first nine months of 2018, Bentley reportedly lost €137 million, or about $158 million at current exchange rates. As you can imagine, the two families that control the majority of Volkswagen Group, the Piëchs and the Porsches, aren't happy.
"The important thing is for every [VW Group] brand to generate a reasonable contribution margin," Wolfgang Porsche told German newspaper the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung while speaking for his family. "That is not currently the case at Bentley, and we are not satisfied." And if Bentley is going to turn things around, it needs to do so quickly because neither family sounds like it plans to be patient. "It can only be one to two years," said family spokesman Hans Michel Piëch.
According to Automotive News, Bentley's cashflow issues can largely be attributed to a weakened British pound and a slow rollout of the redesigned Continental GT. It also reportedly had issues getting its cars approved under Europe's new WLTP standards. At the moment, it's not clear what will happen if Bentley doesn't turn its finances around. But when brand CEO Adrian Hallmark spoke to Automotive News, he said 2018 was a "conversion year" and that Bentley could return to profitability in 2019.