The super-luxury brands owned by Germany’s Volkswagen and BMW groups both posted healthy sales growth in 2012. VW’s Bentley announced global growth of 22% year on year to 8,510 cars, following the worldwide dealer count rising 10%, while BMW’s Rolls-Royce said it booked a “record” 3,575 cars but did not provide a 2011 comparison.

Bentley’s chairman and chief executive Wolfgang Schreiber said: “This strong performance was possible due to our continuing investment in new models.

“We expect the luxury market in 2013 to continue to be challenging but, with significant new model introductions, we believe we have the potential to maintain growth throughout the year.”

The Americas were Bentley’s largest global market with 2,457 cars delivered, a 22% year on year increase.  China followed closely with sales up 23% to 2,253. 

Europe deliveries grew 12% to 1,333 cars. Russian sales were up 37% and UK volume was up 7% to 1,104. 

Middle East sales were up 44% to 815, Asia Pacific deliveries were up 44% to 358 and Japan saw “exceptional” growth of 73% with 190 sales.

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A new 500hp V8 engine, replacing a V12 in some models was “extremely successful”, accounting for almost 20% of sales and attracting new customers, Bentley said.

Sales of the flagship Mulsanne grew 10% as four of 10 Mulsannes last year were sold in China, where the popularity of the pinnacle limousine was boosted by a Diamond Jubilee special edition.

Rolls-Royce, meanwhile, said it sold a record 3,575 cars last year “despite a number of challenges in 2012” including global business uncertainty and political unrest, preparations for the start of production of the Phantom Series II and expansion work at the factory in West Sussex to help the company meet increasing  demand for bespoke (customised) models. Almost every (95%) Phantom and 73% of the Ghosts left the southern England factory with some degree of personalisation.

Rolls-Royce claimed to lead the luxury segment for cars selling above EUR200,000.

Strong growth was achieved in many regions, with notable results seen in the Middle East (up 26%), mainland Europe (up 21%), and Asia Pacific (up 18%), The United States and China remained the larges markets with the US back on top after being edged out by China. Several markets reported record sales including Saudi Arabia (up 63%) and Germany (up 15%).

Thirty new or refurbished dealerships opened last year, taking the total to over 100. New markets included Latin America and the cars are now sold in over 40 countries.

“My aim at the outset of 2012 was another record. I am delighted to announce our sales for 2012 and to celebrate our 10(th) anniversary with an historic record result,” said CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos.

“We had an outstanding year in spite of the challenges we faced, and Rolls-Royce now leads the ultra luxury market by some considerable margin.”

The first BMW-designed Rolls-Royce was delivered on 1 January, 2003.

During this 10th anniversary year a large extension at Goodwood will be opened.