Last week luxury car brand Bentley Motors announced plans to launch a non-fungible token (NFT) in September, of which there will be just 208 dropped. The figure was a nod to the top-speed Grand Tourer and the number of 1952 R-Type Continentals produced.
Bentley Design is creating the artwork, but the key benefit will likely be the access and rewards available to NFT owners.
“Bentley customers are living their lives online, purchasing luxury goods with digital currency, and establishing businesses in the Metaverse,” said Alain Favey, Board member for sales and marketing. “We’ve always engaged our customers where they explore their passions, and today that means being present in digital marketplaces and offering NFT assets. We’ve seen how NFTs have raised the profiles of both art and artist, and we believe the same can happen in the luxury automotive space.”
The auto brand is using proof of stake blockchain Polygon because it’s perceived as sustainable, and the proceeds of the NFT drop will go to sustainability initiatives and supporting engineering and design students.
It says this is its first step into Web3. Its plans include non-fungible chips (NFCs) that link the car to an NFT, online gaming, metaverse applications, and using blockchain technology in its business.
The metaverse potential
Late last year Morgan Stanley published a metaverse report in which it estimated by 2030, luxury brands will generate sales between €11 billion ($12bn) and €25 billion ($27bn). In terms of bottom-line contribution, that translates to between €2.6 billion ($2.8bn) and €6.3 billion ($6.7bn). The lower end case represents 12% higher profits for the sector. Morgan Stanley was primarily looking at personal luxury goods, excluding cosmetics and automotive.
So the question is whether luxury cars will be able to attract the same glow? While the metaverse could still make an attractive profit contribution, it’s likely to be less than personal luxury goods. That’s because every person in the metaverse needs to wear clothes. However, for now, many metaverses don’t feature cars apart from games, although that could change.
Meanwhile, several car brands have launched NFTs. Some initially have loose connections to the cars themselves, such as Lamborghini, Audi and Hyundai. Others are much more tightly associated, including Volkswagen, McLaren and Porsche.