Bentley boss Adrian Hallmark has revealed that the firm’s order bank is running at record levels in 2021, despite the ongoing pandemic.
Speaking ahead of the launch of the Bentley Continental GT Speed, Hallmark revealed that orders to date were up 50%, with deliveries up 30% on last year – which itself was the firm’s best year since 2003.
Despite a Covid-19-enforced shutdown for several months, Bentley went on to deliver 11,206 cars last year, up 2% on 2019 and a record in its 101-year history.
“The fact we’re so far up is a huge testament to the hard work of everyone here,” said Hallmark. “But perhaps the most encouraging aspect is that the order bank is growing faster than we’re delivering the cars. So long as we don’t have another ‘asteroid strike’ event, we have good reason to be positive for the year ahead.”
Hallmark also revealed that Brexit has had a minimal impact on Bentley’s results to date, as a result of its forward planning for all scenarios.
“I said my ideal Christmas gift would be a Brexit deal, and we got it,” said Hallmark. “But while the impact has been minimal, that’s down to the fact we’ve had brilliant teams managing the process for two and a half years now, here and with our suppliers.
“An example would be how we managed our stock. Where we used to hold two days’ worth, we upped that to 21 days’ [worth] – more than ten times as much. We had to layer potential Covid disruption in there too, of course – and really the two problems of Brexit and Covid merged into one. We had to be ready for anything.”
Hallmark also revealed that no Bentley workers had contracted Covid at work, despite the firm being the first UK-based car manufacturer to restart its production lines. “At every step we have put workers’ safety first, from testing through to prevention, and I’m very proud of how everyone has responded to that,” he said.