Despite COVID-19, Volkswagen Group's Bentley Motors today announced record sales of 11,206 in 2020, an increase of 2% over 2019.

"Although the pre-COVID sales forecast was much greater, new model introductions fuelled this significant achievement which was the highest sales performance in any of [our] 101 years," the automaker said.

Production was shut down for seven weeks beginning in March, and resumed at only half output for a further nine weeks, as social distancing measures were introduced. A resulting comprehensive redesign of the production facility enabled the plant to meet demand while maintaining social distancing protocols.

The Americas remained the number one region although a strong performance in China, seeing an increase of 48%, ran it close.

Chairman and CEO Adrian Hallmark said: "Even though we anticipated greater sales before the pandemic struck, when you consider the level of restrictions around the world for the majority of the year, to achieve a record sales performance is a strong measure of our potential. 

"As we look to the year ahead we remain cautiously optimistic as much remains uncertain."

The 2021 launch of the Bentayga Hybrid is one of nine new models for launch this year under the Beyond100 strategic plan as the company works towards becoming fully electrified by 2030.               

The Continental GT (24%) and GT Convertible (15%) together accounted for 39% of total sales, finishing the year as the top selling model line.

Despite run out and COVID-related delays to launch of the redesigned Bentayga, it was still the biggest selling single model, accounting for 37% of sales.

The Americas region received 3,035 cars, an increase of 4% over 2019's 2,913.

China sales rose 48% to 2,880 cars.             

Europe sales fell 18% to 2,193 because of delays launching Bentayga.

UK sales were off 22% to 1,160.

Middle East volume dipped 14% to 735.   

Asia Pacific sales rose 6% to 1,203 cars.