Bentley's CEO Adrian Hallmark has admitted that the luxury carmaker was too slow when it came to readying its cars for Europe's new Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP testing regulations) which replaced the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) tests in the EU back in September.
According to a report by Automotive News Europe, Bentley lost $155 million in the first nine months of this year, whereas in the same period last year it actually posted a profit. Sales were also down by 11 percent in the same period compared to last year, at 6,643 units according to company figures.
"We were not quick enough unfortunately to book capacity or prioritize our derivatives within some of the group processes to get them certified on time," he told Automotive News Europe, adding that Bentley's cars got "stuck in the queue" as manufacturers scrambled to be ready for the September 1 deadline.
The setback forced Bentley to delay the introduction of a plug-in hybrid version of the Bentayga SUV, with it instead choosing to focus on its more popular models. The hybrid high-rider will hit the market next March.
All-in-all, the delays cost the company between 300-400 sales, according to Hallmark.
"There has not been capacity around Europe to test all the derivatives so we have had to be ruthless in that prioritisation," he said.
Bentley's most popular model, the Continental GT coupe was also held back by the WLTP rules.
WLTP also was one reason Bentley delayed the roll-out of the new Continental GT coupe, the brand's best-selling model before the Bentayga's introduction, Hallmark said.
Bentley owner Volkswagen's latest financial report showed that the delay of the the Continental GT, along with exchange rate problems were the biggest factors behind Bentley's losses so far in 2018. Bentley sources most of its parts from Europe, so when the pound is weak, it ends up costing the company more.
"This year is a conversion year to a better business model and next year you will start to see significant growth and a return to normality in terms of profit," said Hallmark.
Source: Automotive News Europe