Express & Star

Bentley slips into the red with £122m operating loss

Large loss in the first nine months of 2018 contrasts with £27.5m profit in 2017


A drop in sales, a slow change in electrifying its product line and delays for its Continental GT model have led Bentley to post a £122 million loss for the first nine months of 2018.

The Volkswagen Group-owned brand, which made a £27.5m profit during the same period last year, saw revenues fall from £1.15 billion to £980 million, thanks to a drop in sales from 7,498 units in the first nine months of 2017 to 6,654 units so far in 2018.

Delays in the launch of the latest Continental GT have been blamed, as well as falling sales for its Bentayga, Flying Spur and Mulsanne models. The challenge of recertifying some vehicles for the latest WLTP emissions and fuel economy standards also hit sales.

The firm’s boss has already spoken of the damage he believes a no-deal Brexit would cause to Bentley. Echoing comments from other manufacturers including Mini and Jaguar Land Rover, chief executive Adrian Hallmark told Reuters that a no-deal Brexit would harm the firm’s profitability.

“Best case, it’s an annoying impact on our annual profitability,” Hallmark said. “Worst case, it’s quite damaging on our annual profitability, so a full no-deal Brexit would hurt us as a company – it would limit ability to invest.”

Hallmark suggested the firm might need to consider closing its Crewe plant periodically and stockpiling parts to ease the transition.

“We may work for four days, or we may have a longer Christmas break and a longer Easter break if there is no deal, so that we can smooth the period between now and the middle of next year,” he said.

BMW has moved the planned annual shutdown of its Mini plant in Cowley, near Oxford, to immediately after the UK’s departure from the EU to reduce disruption. Jaguar Land Rover has already warned that a hard Brexit could cost the company up to £1.2 billion a year, while Aston Martin has begun to stockpile crucial parts and is considering flying them in if ports such as Dover become clogged.

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