The upper end of town has crammed with ultra-luxury cars in 2022 as Audi, BMW and Mercedes slipped

The upper end of town has crammed with ultra-luxury cars in 2022 as Audi, BMW and Mercedes slipped

Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce all achieved best showroom results in their history as Germany’s Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz suffered the setback last year.

The hangover of the global pandemic — and predictions of a recession — have had little impact on the upper end of town, where cars are typically priced in excess of half a million dollars, eclipsing Rolls-Royces’ $1 million and Bugattis easily $2 surpass million.

Further down the luxury pecking order, the traditional German heavyweights — Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz — have not fared so well, as they all suffered sales declines in 2022.

Britain’s two most exclusive luxury car makers – Rolls-Royce and Bentley – claim to have sold a combined 21,195 ultra-luxury cars last year.

Bugatti is also claiming a record result for 2022 – despite totaling just 80 deliveries – and Lamborghini also claimed a 10 percent improvement over 2021 to bring its global total to 9,233 cars last year.

Bentley performed best with 15,174 reported deliveries from the top-end brands headlined by the Bentayga SUV.

The Cullinan, Rolls-Royce’s huge SUV, was also seminal for his company as it reported 6,021 deliveries.

Bugatti doesn’t have an SUV in its lineup, but said it produced a planned 10 examples of its Centodieci, while the Urus SUV topped the Lamborghini total.

According to Rolls-Royce – whose cars in Australia start at $635,000 before road costs – 2022 was the first time the company produced more than 6,000 cars in a calendar year in its 118-year history.

Behind the Cullinan, the Ghost was second in sales – and the leader in Asia Pacific – although Rolls-Royce did not provide a detailed breakdown of its numbers.

“Sales is not our only measure of success: we are not and never will be a volume manufacturer,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, in a statement.

The company had its best year ever for its Bespoke division – which personalizes cars for customers in a highly profitable bespoke division – and also for its Black Badge models, which are most popular in the Asia-Pacific region.

Rolls-Royce also said demand for its first electric car – the Specter coupe – has exceeded its forecast, without giving numbers or further details on a launch date expected later this year.

“Marking the 20th anniversary of the home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood, these results confirm Rolls-Royce Motor Cars as a great British success story,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös

Bentley also celebrated after a sales increase of four percent with the best improvement in “America” (28 percent) and China (24 percent).

Although the Bentaya has been on offer for six years, its total has continued to grow and now accounts for 42 percent of Bentley’s total.

“The company has weathered significant headwinds and demonstrated great resilience to deliver the third consecutive year of record sales,” said Adrian Hallmark, Bentley Motors chairman and chief executive officer.

The claimed Bugatti total for 2022 includes the 400th Chiron and the last nine Chiron Super Sport 300+ cars.

His factory, which opened in Molsheim, France in 2005, is already fully booked for the next two years to build the Mistral and the pure racing car.

Lamborghini also claims a full order book through 2024 and is expected to unveil the replacement for its V12 Aventador later this year.

Deliveries of the Urus improved by seven percent for a total of 5,357, followed by the Huracan at 3,113.

Among the German premium brands, BMW was the best brand last year, despite a worldwide decline in sales of 5.1 percent.

The claimed total was 2,100,692 vehicles, ahead of Mercedes-Benz with 2,043,900 after a 1.0 percent drop and Audi with 1,614,231 cars after a 3.9 percent drop.

BMW was also ahead in claimed electric car deliveries, more than doubling its 2021 result with a total of 215,755 to finish well ahead of Audi with 118,196 and Mercedes-Benz with 117,800.

“The next milestone for 2023 is that 15% of our total sales come from fully electric vehicles,” said Pieter Nota, BMW board member responsible for customers, brands and sales.

Paul Gover

Paul Gover has been a motoring journalist for more than 40 years and has worked for newspapers, magazines, websites, radio and television. A qualified general news journalist and sports reporter, his passion for driving has taken him to Wheels, Motor, Car Australia, Which Car and Auto Action magazines. He is a champion racer as well as a World Car of the Year judge.

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