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What pandemic? Luxury and super-sports car brands like Bugatti, Rolls-Royce and Lamborghini set global sales records in challenging 2021 conditions

The new Ghost upper-large sedan helped Rolls-Royce to register record sales last year.

We all thought 2020 was tough until 2021 reared its ugly head, taking the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic to the next level. But as it turns out, the very top of the new-vehicle market was seemingly immune from the obvious challenges, with sales records tumbling.

That’s right, the likes of Bugatti, Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Bentley and Porsche all registered record global sales last year. Let that sink in for a moment.

Now, you’re probably thinking how this happened. The bad news is there isn’t a clear explanation, but the semiconductor shortage that’s plaguing high-volume brands isn’t having quite the same effect on their low-volume counterparts.

While that accounts for the ‘supply’ side of the equation, there’s then the question of ‘demand’. The obvious answer is the rich got richer during the pandemic, but it’s probably not that simple.

With international and, in some instances, domestic travel continuing to be difficult, a lot of people haven’t been spending money on tourism, and for the fortunate, that has typically meant their savings have grown.

Bugatti Chiron Bugatti Chiron

This, of course, extends to the wealthy, many of whom seemingly splashed out for an upmarket vehicle in 2021. So, which model did the well-heeled gravitate towards to?

Well, Bugatti readied 150 vehicles, up a staggering 95 per cent over 2020 to eclipse its former record from 2019, with the Chiron sports car forming the basis of its models finding homes.

Aston Martin DBX Aston Martin DBX

Aston Martin turned out 6182 vehicles, up a considerable 82 per cent over 2020. The sales winner? The DBX upper-large SUV, of course. In fact, ‘high-volume’ crossovers are also the theme for the following high-end brands.

Meanwhile, Rolls-Royce moved 5586 vehicles, up a stunning 49 per cent over 2020 to beat its previous record set in 2019. While there’s no model-by-model breakdown, the luxury brand said the Ghost upper-large sedan drove growth, with the Cullinan upper-large SUV also playing a key role.

Lamborghini Urus Lamborghini Urus

Bentley supplied 14,659 vehicles, up a crazy 31 per cent over 2020. But short of confirming the Bentayga upper-large SUV as its best-selling model, the luxury brand also hasn’t provided model splits.

And then there was Lamborghini, which delivered 8405 vehicles, up 13 per cent over 2020. The Urus upper-large SUV accounted for 5021 units, with the Huracan sports car contributing 2586 and the Aventador sports car 798.

Porsche sold 301,915 vehicles, up 11 per cent over 2020. The Macan mid-size SUV (88,362 units) led the Cayenne large SUV (83,071), Taycan large car (41,296), 911 sports car (38,464), Panamera upper-large car (30,220) and 718 Boxster and Cayman (20,502).