VW Group Shareholders Demand That Bentley Becomes Profitable

It would appear that the VW Group’s main shareholders, the Piech and Porsche families, are not happy with Bentley‘s financial contribution to the group.

In fact, the British luxury automaker has received an ultimatum to become profitable within the next two years, although neither Wolfgang Porsche nor Hans Michel Piech have stated what would happen should Bentley fail to meet their expectations, as reported by Automotive News Europe.

“The important thing is for every [VW Group] brand to generate a reasonable contribution margin,” said Wolfgang Porsche during an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “That is not currently the case at Bentley, and we are not satisfied.”

Meanwhile, Hans Michel Piech, another family spokesman, added that “it can only be one to two years”, while referring to the time period in which Bentley is expected to complete its turnaround and return to profitability.

Based on the latest VW Group financial report, Bentley lost no fewer than 137 million euros in the first nine months of 2018, as opposed to the small profit they gained in the same period the year before. Among the reasons why this happened were the decline of the British pound following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, but also the slow ramp up of the new-generation Continental GT.

Moving forward, Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark claims that his company could post a full-year profit in 2019, resulting in significant growth.

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  • Well I’m sure the Bentaugly has something to do with it.

  • Blade t

    No big suprise here. No one talks about Bentley. I think the redesigned gt looks nice but that’s it.

  • Miknik

    So, I guess this will mean more reskinned SUVs then 🙁

    • MarketAndChurch

      Those sell the best.

      • Miknik

        I know. But reskinned AUdi Q7s and Q8s, and probably even Q5s are not what a Bentley should be…

  • TheHake

    Even as a VW fan and a worn capitalist I’m getting more and more pissed off with VW management. They are just after the money now. Aren’t they rich enough? I BET you they will sell Ducati to KTM as well.

    • Blade t

      Large corporations never think they are “rich enough”. All they are concerned about is yearly profits for shareholders ..

    • alexxx

      I am curious… How someone becomes vw fan? What are the qualities you appreciate?

    • Cobrajet

      I just want to spit on these people.

  • nastinupe

    1) Nobody sees Bentley’s everywhere
    2) Ok… I’ve never heard of this
    3) That’s subjective
    4) The GT is a very popular car, no issues there. The Mulsanne is a chauffeur’s car, that’s what it’s for. Apparently this isn’t your market, so you are making an incorrect assumption here. That’s what they want and that’s what it is.

    Their issue is that the GT was held back from production and it halted sales. Once that gets going everything will be ok.

    • MarketAndChurch

      I don’t think the Chauffeuring sedan market justify its existence, especially when that can be done by an SUV. I’m not sure if selling only 600 or less Mulsanne’s the last 3 years is enough to justify keeping it around.

      And I agree, the GT’s 9 month delay, plus the WLTP emissions testing is what kept Bentley back, and that Bentley should return to form in 2019. Maybe not bringing in a good return, but doing okay.

    • alexxx

      1) maybe if you live in Monte Carlo…I guess…

    • I LIVE IN NYC AND WORK ON THE UPPER EAST SIDE AND I CAN’T REMEMBER THE LAST TIME I SAW A MULSANNE. I’LL SEE A BENTAYGA OR FLYING SPUR ON RARE OCCASIONS.

    • James Denz

      The two Mulsannes I know of in my area are owner driven. I see their owners picking up their kids at school and I see them at the local supermarkets. Continental GTs are much more common here but I’ve only seen one Bentayga so far.

  • Bob

    Hahaha that was a great joke on the chauffeur-driven Urus bit. I do hope that was a joke.

  • Bob

    Quite surprising. I thought that, out of the premium brands, Bentley would be doing quite well. Oh well.

  • StrangerGP

    Not sure if they can release a baby Bentayga so soon…

    • MarketAndChurch

      They need it more than they need another Bentley car.

  • I don’t see that many Bentleys. I have never seen a Bentayga and I live in one of the wealthiest place on the planet.

    • James Denz

      I see Bentleys pretty often here in Los Altos, CA and other parts of the Bay Area. I own a Continental GT as well but I’ve only seen one Bentayga. I’m not thrilled with the new Continental GT in photos but it’s pretty striking in person.

    • BruceWayne

      You definitely don’t live in one of the wealthiest places on earth, try going to Long beach California, or you know what just go to Dubai, you’ll find Bentleys there like Nissans in the US, and no I’m not kidding

      • I do. I said “one of” not “the most” wealthiest area. I see more Paganis than Bentleys where I am. There are tons of billionaires in my neck of the woods. Also, monarch dictatorships don’t count and that excludes most of the ME. I am talking about normal places.

  • Elmediterraneo

    Stop wasting time thinking about electric bullshit while you’re still stuck with ageing models on sale.
    Release the new Flying Spur and make a new Mulsanne based on same platform with a W12 engine.
    Update the Bentayga with the Continental’s new infotainment.
    Hurry about the Speed models with at least 670 PS from the W12 engine.
    And make a smaller SUV based on the Porsche Macan.
    Bentley have access to all Volkswagen’s components stop being too slow.
    Rolls-Royce released the Phantom and the Cullinan in less than a year and already plans to switch the Ghost, Wraith, Dawn line-up on their new bespoke versions of BMW’s CLAR platform and 6.75 liter V12 engine.

    • Merc1

      “make a new Mulsanne based on same platform with a W12 engine”

      NO. What would be the point then? The FS has the W12 already. A new V8 and totally bespoke platform to match the Phantom would be solution if they want to move the car a little more upmarket to match the Phantom.

      M

      • Elmediterraneo

        Bentley can easily build a longer more luxurious Mulsanne and make it look and feel like a completely different level of status by stretching Flying Spur’s MSB platform already stretched from the Porsche Panamera. Those platform are modulable with heavy investments, keeping Bentley’s old british original platform is a total waste of money and hold the brand backwards.
        The Rolls-Royce’s “bespoke” platform introduced by the new Phantom is a heavily modified version of BMW’s CLAR architecture.

      • Cobrajet

        They should go back to having one sedan again.

  • Blanka Li

    I guess ugly doesn’t sell . . .

  • TheBelltower

    The Bentayga and the Continental are probably extremely profitable since they are heavily based on mass production VW/Audi vehicles. The sales volume is extremely high. The combined sales volume of the Flying Spur and Mulsanne is likely too low to justify. Bentley should consider only offering one sedan instead of two.

    • MarketAndChurch

      I think the Flying Spur does okay. I don’t know the numbers for 2018, but it sold over 2,000 units in 2017, up from 1600 in 2016. Bentley has said that it shares the same engineering as the Continental. Doesn’t it ride on a platform shared with other products under the VW Autogroup umbrella?

      • TheBelltower

        You know, you’re right. I looked at ’17 and Bentley sold about 2300 Flying spurs. Very decent. Slightly fewer than the continental, which sold around 2,800. The Bentayga sold 4,800. The Mulsanne only sold 560 in 2017. So perhaps the Mulsanne is the weakest link? Personally, I think having two sedans is a bit of a jumble for a brand like Bentley. It’s like saying that “this is the sedan for the poors, and this is the one for the wealthy.”

    • Elmediterraneo

      They could easily build the Mulsanne on the next Flying Spur’s platform instead of keeping that old british dinosaur…

  • MarketAndChurch

    You guys are forgetting a story you covered earlier this year, and that is the losses that Bentley had from the WLTP certification process. They lost like 300 Bentayga sales from that, and the Bentayga hybrid was put on hold until the models they sell the most of get tested first.

    • OdysseyTag

      My thoughts aswell.

  • MarketAndChurch

    The Bentayga is the best selling Bentley. It makes up like 45% of all Bentley’s sold. Bentley’s problems are with its cars, and the Bentayga isn’t that ugly as everyone makes it out to be.

    • Cobrajet

      It only sells for the engine, no other SUV comes with a W12 now.

  • benT

    flip $10 to each of them

  • THEY DON’T MAKE ENOUGH MONEY FROM ALL VW GROUP COMPANIES TO CUT ONE DIVISION SOME SLACK?

  • Mike anonymous

    In regards to the prior generation vehicle (i.e. Bentley Continental GT), I would have to agree. The prior generation still does not feel old today, and as of today we would be coming up on 1 decade and a half, almost 2 decades since the original design.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a895270010c9b859b0f34ef49e28f4130b984876fdc3aab1015759e606eb2500.png

    The previous generation felt like a whole hearted Bentley, but this more recent generation very clearly takes in quite a lot of Audi/VW inspired influence if you know the tell-tale-signs and details to look for.
    I personally feel as though the new model (while it does look good) does not carry the same presence or ‘spark’ that made the prior generation (2012 update included) special and (dare say) iconic.

  • SteersUright

    Simple, make a mass market crossover to take on the Macan and Cayenne.

  • Adam

    I wonder if they’re also upset with Bugatti? Apparently that division isn’t making a profit either.

  • Brandon

    Only way for Bentley to become profitable is start producing electric vehicles. Their cars are too large and way too inefficient.

  • Cobrajet

    The Mulsanne is great because it’s a real Bentley and even a real Rolls Royce too. The others are just VWs trying to be Aston Martins.

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