How Delightful Was 2021? Ask Bentley

The world’s richest 10 people saw their collective net worth rise by almost $400 billion over the course of 2021.

Regular readers are apprised of the numbers. Documenting the rise of the richest humans is one of my favorite pastimes. If you missed the visuals depicting the jaw-dropping surge in the planet’s largest paper fortunes, you can find them here.

The vast majority of those who weigh in on the subject miss the point entirely. Even Thomas Piketty seems to miss the forest for the trees on occasion. Yuval Noah Harari gets it, though.

To briefly recapitulate, my contention is that within five years, the Bloomberg Billionaires list (and lists like it) won’t make much sense because everyone below the top 25 spots will be relative paupers. Within twenty years, it’s likely that the richest handful of people will own (or control) virtually all of the world’s wealth. Invariably, they’ll be the same 10 people who control virtually all of the world’s data. They’ll be gods.

That’s an existential issue. And it transcends the inequality debate, even as it encapsulates it.

It’s with the above in mind that I wanted to take a moment to highlight another rather remarkable statistic from 2021. Bentley delivered almost 15,000 cars last year (figure below). That’s a lot for Bentley. In fact, it was 31% more than 2020, which was a good year in its own right, especially considering the circumstances.

Bentley didn’t say “rich people got richer” while explaining the surge, of course. And, to be fair, there were a handful of contributing factors, including what the company described as solid demand for a hybrid version of the Bentayga.

Nevertheless, you’d be obtuse not to at least suggest that the mammoth increase in the value of financial assets during the pandemic helped drive sales.

“2021 was yet another year of unpredictability though I am delighted to be able to confirm that we overcame significant headwinds, and deliver a breakthrough in our sales performance,” Chairman and CEO Adrian Hallmark said, adding that 2021 marked the second consecutive year of record sales for one of the world’s most exclusive luxury brands.

The breakdown showed deliveries to the Americas rose almost 40% last year. The same was true of China (figure above).

If you’re curious, and you’ve never been Bentley shopping before, Bentley’s “cheapest” offering will set you back almost $190,000. This isn’t Maserati. There are no Ghiblis at Crewe.

As the company reminded the media in a “note to editors” at the bottom of Thursday’s celebratory press release, “Bentley is the most sought after luxury car brand in the world. ”

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3 thoughts on “How Delightful Was 2021? Ask Bentley

  1. I recall, as a young banker, sitting next to the Bentley regional sales manager on a flight from Bahrain to Kuwait about 40 years ago. He had had a bang up year, selling some 90 cars into Kuwait, most of which were delivered by air.

  2. I can see the appeal . Keeping track of very large numbers can be tedious, so it becomes convenient to express transactions in handier currencies and denominations, as in ” the yacht I’m looking at comes in at about 200 bentlies”

  3. I wonder how many Tim Cook plans to buy? “According to the tech giant’s annual proxy filing with the SEC, Cook’s pay package rose more than 500% to $98.7M, from $14.8M in 2020. His base salary of $3M remained unchanged.” Out of control.

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