By on September 8, 2016

2017 Bentley Bentayga:Mercedes-Benz began selling the ML in 1997. Seemingly more of a stretch, along came the BMW X5 two years later.

Then Porsche, not just a luxury carmaker but the preeminent German sports car builder, pulled the same stunt with the Cayenne in 2003. The move doesn’t seem so crazy now that Porsche produces 60 percent of its U.S. sales by way of the Cayenne and its little brother, the Macan.

Indeed, there were no surprises when earlier this year, in one fell swoop, the F-Pace became Jaguar’s best-selling model in its first month on the market, outselling the newly re-launched XF and the brand new XE right from the start.

But can the same strategy be replicated further upmarket? Much further upmarket, at a $232,000 price point? At a brand which suffered a 46-percent year-over-year sales decline in 2016’s first seven months?

Most definitely. The Bentayga is to Bentley what the Cayenne became to Porsche, what the F-Pace has already become at Jaguar. Only more so.

Ugly doesn’t seem so stand in the way of upmarket SUV success. The first Porsche Cayenne was nothing if not stylistically challenged, yet by 2006 the Cayenne was Porsche USA’s best-selling model, accounting for 43 percent of the brand’s sales.2017 Bentley Bentayga rearWith a face (and body) only a mother (and a slew of well-heeled buyers) could love, in the words of our own Steph Willems, the Bentayga may not be as ghastly as its EXP 9 F concept forerunner, but it’s no F-Pace. It’s no Range Rover. Let’s be honest: the Bentayga doesn’t hold a candle to the Mazda CX-3.

Subjective styling analysis aside — even if the TTAC masthead and B&B is largely in agreement — we do know that Bentley sales were in the toilet heading into August.

Following an end-of-year surge to 581 sales circa Christmas 2015, Bentley volume decreased in seven consecutive months, year-over-year. U.S. sales in January and February fell into double-digits for just the second and third time in 61 months. February volume, in fact, tumbled to a 67-month low. Through July 2016, Bentley was on track for its worst U.S. sales year since 2010, when the recession blues had caused Bentley volume to plunge by two-thirds from its 2007 peak.USA Bentley sales chart August 2016SUVs to the rescue! After averaging 113 monthly sales between January and July, Bentley reported 399 sales in August 2016, the first month of Bentayga sales, according to the Automotive News Data Center.

There was little help from the Volkswagen-owned, British brand’s establishment. Other Bentleys tumbled 23 percent, though the Mulsanne flagship recorded an eight-unit uptick to 19 sales. Flying Spur volume was cut in half. Continental GT volume decreased 8 percent.

USA rare SUV sales chart August 2016The Bentayga generated 56 percent of all Bentley sales. Pent-up demand for a long-awaited model — yes, people put their names on waiting lists for vehicles this hideous — explains a portion of the Bentayga’s possibly exaggerated first-month success. But who are we kidding: specific trim levels of the Range Rover aside, the market has largely been devoid of an ultra-high-end luxury SUV to line up alongside Mulsannes and Phantoms and Rapides and Maybachs. It won’t be surprising to see long-term demand for the Bentayga.

If the Bentayga was the only Bentley on sale in America in August, its 223 sales would still have produced Bentley’s best month of sales this year, and by a long shot.

By the standards of the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, crossovers that routinely attract more than 30,000 buyers every month, the Bentayga is undoubtedly a rare beast. Yet in August, the big Bentley wasn’t that much more uncommon than some far more affordable utilities. Lincoln sold 273 MKTs in August; Toyota reported 270 Land Cruiser sales.

[Charts: © The Truth About Cars; Image: Bentley; Bentley sales source: Automotive News Data Center]

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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28 Comments on “Ungainly Bentayga ‘Cayennes’ Bentley In Its First Month On The Market...”


  • avatar
    VW16v

    Considering I see 2-10 Range Rover’s a day in Utah and that price range goes over $200k. The Bentayga will be the go to suv for many.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    The more frightening bit of data on that chart is the Levante sales. Your volume ticket crossover getting outsold by a hideous $250K monstrosity? So much for THAT.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      They’re not really around yet. That’s why the QX30 has so few sales, it’s too new.

      Meanwhile, the lowest figure cars are the ones on their way out – already cancelled.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    When you have more money than common sense c’mon over and step into the beautifully crafted Bentayga!…..LOL

    This just may dethrone the MB G Wagon as the biggest D-bag vehicle on the road.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    The article fails to mention the FIRST buyer of a Bentayga: The Queen.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Well, I’ll just wait a few years until they start showing up on used car lots, then I’ll take a look.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I suspect this ride will do VERY well long term, or until RR, Lambo, & Ferrari get in the game. What we don’t know, or at least I think we don’t know, is how many of those Range Rover customers have the dough to go further up market with their SUV/CUV dollars? And, perhaps, in some sense find it a bit frustrating that Rover offers lease deals to get more of the peasant class into their offerings. I am willing to bet Bentley will not be offering lease deals on the Bentyga whatever which will help keep this monstrosity in select garages.

    • 0 avatar
      tsoden

      Lamborghini already jumped onto this trend well before Mercedes made it a “thing” when it introduced the Lamborghini LM002 (AKA the Lambo Rambo) in 1986 and sold until 1993. I don’t really think it took off though.

      However, I suppose at the time, Lambo’s real competition was Hummer, specifically the M998 or later the H1 produced by GM.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      They’re leasing them. The CEO at a client just got one leased for him. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of them are leased by companies for executives, or as “The Cadillac” for top performing salesmen. Considering the development cost for new anythings these days, if you want to, on purpose, limit yourself to the “truly rich”(tm), you’ve got to be in the standing headroom jet or crewed yacht business.

      What Bentley and RR are fishing for, is confirmation that it is possible to be a full line, one-stop-shop, for those “truly rich.” Currently, too many of them have too many reasons to stoop to the top end models of lower end brands. Which keeps reminding them that you don’t really get much of anything of objective value by going above the S class or RR. If the $300K+ purveyors could instead offer anything, without compromise, and with certain touches that set them apart, the truly rich could more easily be spared the indignity of having to stoop to such atrocities as leather chosen with at least some concern for cost. Rather than from the caesarean birthed, Scandinavian, organically handfed and sake massaged calfs, that are required for leather of a quality appropriate for butts as exquisite as yours, sir!

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    The article’s title makes my head hurt, the price of this rig makes my head hurt, it’s the worst vehicle name since Tiguan, but the results are not at all surprising and I don’t find it that ugly.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I think the Bentayga looks pretty solid; I like it. VAG needs some good news like this.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I saw a Cayenne, hood up on the side of the road in a stretch of NM with no Porsche dealers for 200 miles.

    I loled.

  • avatar
    lon888

    If you “must have” a Bentley SUV, then you are truly a badge whore. Mr. Bugatti was right – Bentley does build the world’s fastest trucks.

  • avatar
    Click REPLY to reload page

    “There’s an @$$ for every seat”… “there’s a sucker born every minute”…
    The line at the drive-through at McDonald’s is always pretty long, and the food is as awful as ever. And rich guys are buying (or leasing) the new Bentley for their ladies to drive to the botox clinic in.
    The driving dynamics are and cargo-carrying specifications are likely not ever even considered.
    The profits from this overpriced sled will get redistributed as settlements to buyers of TDIs.

  • avatar
    SMIA1948

    The big problem with the Bentayga is the tiny cargo area behind the second row of seats (only 16 cubic feet). The LWB Range Rover is much more functional.

  • avatar
    whitworth

    Those headlights are so incredibly ugly, how on Earth did they decide on that? It’s like they reached back and stole from the Kia Amanti.

    The rest of car looks fine from my vantage point.

  • avatar
    Jagboi

    I assume those sales numbers are US only? How is Bentley doing for sales overall? I understand they sell a lot to China.

  • avatar
    zipper69

    Sales success aside -it’s an undistinguished slab sided bolide with nothing apart from the badging to show it’s heritage.

    This is simply creating a product for a market segment that scarcely existed a decade ago. If the hipsters suddenly decide that station wagons are “wicked cool” these jumbo gravel crushers will be sales poison.

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