Sales of Bentleys and Lamborghinis are booming because rich people are bored

April 2, 2021

While auto sales as a whole have suffered from factory shutdowns and other disruptions due to the pandemic, sales of super-expensive cars, like Ferraris, Bentleys and Lamborghinis, finished 2020 at a blistering pace.

Indeed, CNN reports, It’s been a great time to be selling really, really expensive cars.  Bentley had its best year ever  in 2020; and Lamborghini had its second best year ever in terms of sales and turned its highest profit

“I’ve been in this business 40 years and I’ve never seen it like this,” said Brian Miller, president of Manhattan Motors, a high-end dealership that sells Bentleys, Lamborghinis and Bugattis, among other ultra-luxury brands.

In the United States, overall passenger car sales were down 10% in 2020, compared to 2019. Even as auto sales recovered strongly in the fourth quarter, they only just matched the pace seen in the fourth quarter of 2019, Tyson Jominy, vice president for data analytics at J.D. Power, told CNN.

But sales of cars costing more than $80,000 were almost double in the fourth quarter over the sales price they went for the year before. And for cars costing more than $100,000, sales in the United States were up 63% that quarter, said Jominy.

“There’s a fairly fantastic wealth effect going on,” Jominy added.

The booming stock market has played a big part, he said. And since the wealthy haven’t been able to spend money on trips, many have turned to luxury goods, like expensive cars.

Customers often order these cars to their exact specifications and wait months for them to be built, Miller said. But he often keeps some on hand to sell to those who want to drive out in their new Rolls-Royce or Lamborghini that day. That’s just not possible right now, he said. He can’t keep the cars on the lot.

Miller credits the boom, in part, to people sitting around with not much else to do but look at expensive cars on the Internet.

One of the more remarkable things about the run-up in sales, said Jominy, is that it has been largely young buyers driving the wave. “[T]he rich Millennial tech employee in Austin is now the archetype,” he said.

Research contact: @CNN

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