Here’s How Bentley Rebounded After Nearly 200 Cars Sank on the Felicity Ace
When the Felicity Ace sank nearly 900 miles west of Portugal, Bentley’s teams in England and Germany were already working to replace millions lost to the sea floor.
Even while the Felicity Ace burned toward the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean 900 miles west of Lisbon, Portugal, executives at Bentley were refiling orders for cars destined for the seafloor. That’s according to a report by Automotive News that chronicled the days, weeks, and months after the cargo hauler carrying nearly 200 Bentleys destined for the U.S. — an unusually large number of Bentleys on a single hauler — sank.
According to the report, usually Bentley sends about 40 to 70 vehicles on a cargo ship to the U.S., far less than the 189 aboard the vessel. A Bentley spokeswoman estimated that each car cost roughly $300,000, bringing the total sum headed to the ocean floor close to $56.7 million.
Of course, the Felicity Ace sunk with just more than Bentleys on board — nearly 4,000 other Volkswagen Group vehicles were onboard, including VWs, Audis, and Porsches. Many were equipped with lithium-ion batteries that could exacerbate the reported fire on one of the ship’s decks, and while the fire’s origins aren’t clear, the batteries likely didn’t help.
The timing couldn’t have been worse. Strapped for parts due to an ongoing supply chain crunch and semi-conductor shortage, there were no immediate replacements for the Bentleys available. (Same goes for the Porsches and Lamborghinis, too.) What’s more, some of those sunk were Mulliner versions, which are bespoke and custom-built cars for customers who were waiting on their ultra-luxury cars.
The total cars that sank —189 — constituted nearly 5% of the brand’s total sales in the Americas, and Bentley regional sales teams stepped up to help. Softening demand in China led to some extra capacity, and a stop-sale on cars and parts to Russia due to the war in Ukraine helped too.
According to the report, Bentley delivered the last vehicle last month to a customer who ordered a car that sank on the Felicity Ace: a Bentayga First Edition. It’s worth a read.
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