Bentley slumps in China amid COVID lockdowns

Bentley is having a record year and growing all over the world with one big exception. It’s China.

Orders in the world’s largest car market have fallen from 800 units a month when the first COVID restrictions were first lifted in 2020 to 150 to 200 units a month now, according to the ultra-luxury brand. Chief Adrian Hallmark said Wednesday.

“In the last four or five months, the order rate is now about the same as it was pre-COVID,” Hallmark told reporters at Bentley’s headquarters in Crewe, England.

“It’s not a catastrophe, but if you look at the rest of the world – the US, UK and Europe – it’s up more than 20% year-on-year.”

The comments point to the country’s strict zero COVID policy, which China has just begun to ease.

The policy is hitting even the country’s richest consumers as economic growth slows to its lowest level in 40 years.

Hallmark said even Bentley’s local employees are often confined to the ground, making it difficult to get a full picture of what’s going on on the ground.

“Customers just aren’t shopping during the lockdown,” he said.

Bentley plans to offer only plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles by 2026, with the entire range switching to fully electric vehicles by the end of 2010.

Known for its massive 12-cylinder engine, the brand will leverage technology investments made by parent company Volkswagen as it seeks to challenge Tesla as the dominant EV maker.

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