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Carmaker Bentley posts record 2020 sales thanks to China boost

·1-min read
Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Crewe

LONDON (Reuters) - Volkswagen's luxury British automaker Bentley posted record sales of 11,206 cars in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic causing the company's factory to close during the first lockdown in England, as demand in China soared by nearly 50%.

The plant in northern England did not produce vehicles for seven weeks as restrictions were imposed in March and then ran at half normal output in the subsequent nine weeks, but new models helped to drive up demand overall, the carmaker said on Tuesday.

Demand increased by 48% in China thanks to the popularity of the new Flying Spur, and rose by 4% in the Americas, offsetting drops in Europe and the Middle East.

"As we look to the year ahead we remain cautiously optimistic as much remains uncertain," said Chief Executive Adrian Hallmark.

Sales in 2020 were 2% higher than in 2019.

(Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Michael Holden)