By Nick Carey
LONDON (Reuters) - Luxury British carmaker Bentley cruised to a record year in 2021 as global sales jumped 31% amid strong demand for high-end vehicles, the Volkswagen AG unit said on Thursday.
Bentley said its sales rose to 14,659 units from 11,206 in 2020, which was also a record year despite shutdowns caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.
Premium and luxury car sales have been growing more broadly in key global markets like China and the United States as pandemic travel restrictions have left wealthy consumers with more disposable income.
Bentley said sales last year rose 39% in the Americas and 40% in China, with those two markets between them accounting for nearly 60% of its total sales.
"2021 was yet another year of unpredictability, though I am delighted to be able to confirm that we overcame significant headwinds, and deliver a breakthrough in our sales performance," Bentley Chief Executive Adrian Hallmark said in a statement.
The Bentayga luxury SUV, which has a starting price of around 150,000 pounds ($203,000), remained Bentley's top-selling model, with sales boosted by a new hybrid option.
The luxury carmaker has committed to going fully electric by 2030.
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(Reporting by Nick Carey; Editing by Jan Harvey)