It Was a Great Year for Expensive Cars

rollsroyce spirit of ecstasy
It Was a Great Year for Expensive CarsRolls-Royce

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It might seem like a lot of the economic news these days is glum, what with inflation and rising interest rates and the collapse in value of your NFT of Tesla stock (real double whammy there). But turn that frown upside down, because 2022 was a record year for Bentley, Lamborghini, and Rolls-Royce! Which means that rich people are still feeling optimistic about the economy. And if rich people are optimistic about the economy, well, what could go wrong?

Ferrari is still languidly crunching its numbers after a second cappuccino and Porsche says it'll tally its scores after just a few more laps of the Nürburgring, but at least some of the results are in, and they're rosy. Let's start with the Bovine from Bologna, Lamborghini.


Last year, Lamborghini delivered 9233 cars, a new high score. The US was the number one market, with 2721 cars delivered (U-S-A! U-S-A!) and overall sales were up 10 percent from last year. Even the Aventador had a record year (753 cars) despite production ending last September. Like former Dolphins running back Ricky Williams, the Aventador retired at the height of its abilities—in this case, the ability to get the newly rich to part with hundreds of thousands of dollars for a car with a single-clutch automatic transmission. The most popular Lambo? We regret to inform you that it was the Urus.

lamborghini 2022 sales chart
Where is Emea? If you have to ask, you can’t afford to live - Car and Driver

Bentley delivered 15,174 cars in 2022, which beat 2021's 14,658 cars, which was also a new record. At this rate there will soon be more actual Bentleys than dogs named Bentley, which is saying something since that was the 15th most popular name for male dogs last year. The Americas was Bentley's biggest market, and although Bentley very charitably doesn't break out the most important country on those two continents, we'd bet it rhymes with "U-S-A! U-S-A!" and isn't Uruguay. The most popular Bentley model? We're terribly sad to report that it was the Bentayga.

<span class="caption">Some Bentleys, as seen in the company’s second-biggest market. Hint: Unlike Bentley’s biggest market, it doesn’t include a single Waffle House location.</span><span class="photo-credit">Car and Driver</span>
Some Bentleys, as seen in the company’s second-biggest market. Hint: Unlike Bentley’s biggest market, it doesn’t include a single Waffle House location.Car and Driver

Elsewhere on the Island That's Surrounded By Europe but Isn't Part of It, Rolls-Royce sold 6021 of its extremely comfortable vehicles in 2022, also a record. Rolls also brags that, besides selling a pile of cars, that mix included a lot of really expensive ones from its Bespoke outfit, saying, "commissions were also at record levels last year, with our clients' requests becoming ever more imaginative and technically demanding". Is it us, or do we detect a hint of exasperation in that statement? "Mummy, I shall be simply inconsolable unless you buy me a Rolls-Royce Boattail and a pony with six legs!"

Rolls says the average Bespoke car cost half a million Euros, to which we say: Try harder, rich people. Rolls is cagey about how much money it made, but it seems like it might tell us after a third glass of wine, claiming, "the marque will make a significant contribution to its principal shareholder". That would be one Chester P. Larvae-Smoot, Lord Duke of Underbottom, the demanding but ultimately kindhearted aristocrat who won Rolls-Royce in a game of snooker in 2003. Wait, sorry—no, they're talking about BMW. They're saying they send money home to Germany, and they'd better or else. The most popular Rolls-Royce last year was, we simply hate to tell you this, the Cullinan.

chicken climbing into the back of a rolls royce ghost
The Rolls-Royce Ghost was the bestselling model in the Asia-Pacific region. We didn’t have a photo of one there, though, so here’s a chicken climbing into one.Ezra Dyer - Car and Driver

As we said, we're still awaiting numbers from some other companies, but as of the latest reports (Mercedes-Benz S-class sales up 24 percent at the end of Q3), things were looking great. Based on all this good news, maybe you should stop asking yourself whether you can afford to buy a Lamborghini Huracán Technica and ask yourself whether you can afford not to. But just try to stay realistic about how great everything is going. Lamborghini's 10-percent year-over-year sales increase is good, but not as good as the 15-percent increase it saw in another record year, 2007.

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