Aston Martin’s CEO has revealed a three-pronged strategy in a bid to quadruple production at the Warwickshire-based sportscar-maker.
Andy Palmer outlined the firm’s plans at the Geneva motor show, and said growth would come from a crossover vehicle, wider availability of its Lagonda Taraf luxury saloon and a new generation of sportscars.
Last year Aston Martin sold 4,000 cars, almost half of its record-breaking total of 7,300 in 2007, but plans to increase that to 16,000.
Geneva saw the unveiling of Aston Martin’s DBX crossover concept, with it following in the footsteps of both Bentley and Rolls Royce in response to soaring demand for SUVs in all their forms.
Although the electric-powered DBX is a concept - displayed to garner attention at one of the world’s biggest car shows - it also represents serious intent and Mr Palmer revealed Aston Martin would be entering the luxury crossover segment, with hopes of achieving 5,000 sales.
Aston Martin also displayed its Vulcan in Geneva - a £1.8 million high-performance track car which will see a limited production run of just 24 cars - and unveiled its new Vantage GT3.
Both might be described as eye candy on a busier than usual Aston stand, which also featured an under-wraps Lagonda Taraf.
It will be more crucial to Aston’s plans going forward, with Mr Palmer indicating the £600,000 saloon could account for annual sales of 4,000.
Initially it was only going to be available in Middle Eastern markets but Mr Palmer announced it would also be available in the UK, Europe, South Africa and other EU-compliant markets.
The company has struggled when it comes to major investment since parting company from Ford and has some catching up to do.
Competitors in the luxury segment like Bentley, Rolls Royce and Lamborghini have all benefitted from significant investment by their German owners, with Porsche also powering ahead with an increasingly diverse model line-up.
Aston Martin’s fortunes have improved significantly with a cash injection of £500 million to help revitalise its sportscar line-up, and Mr Palmer revealed further funding of £150 million had also been recently secured.
As part of its growth plans the firm hopes to see annual sales of 7,000 sportscars, capping it at that level to retain the brand’s exclusivity.
Daimler has taken a five per cent stake in the company and will be supplying electronics and V8 engines for the next generation of sportscars from its AMG performance division. Mr Palmer also suggested a crossover could utilise four-wheel drive architecture developed by Daimler.
Speaking at the Geneva show, Mr Palmer said the luxury brand was about to enter a “new era”.
He said: “The Geneva show this year marks the first public signs of a revolution at Aston Martin - a revolution we’re calling ‘Second Century’.
“While the exceptional new Aston Martin Vulcan track-only supercar and Vantage GT3 special edition road car represent a take on our immediate future, the exciting DBX Concept is Aston Martin’s first public statement about how the high luxury GT sector could, and in our view should, evolve in the years to come.”
“The DBX Concept is our view on ‘the art of the possible’ for Aston Martin. DBX may be seen as challenging and perhaps even revolutionary in some quarters - but it is not science fiction. I can confirm that we will in the future be offering a car in the new DBX space.”
Looking to the future as he marked 150 days in his role, Mr Palmer outlined other developments in the pipeline.
They include re-vamping its regional office structure with a new office for Asia-Pacific opening in Singapore, a new trading company in Japan and a new headquarters in Frankfurt.
This year, the brand will also expand its bespoke personalisation service - Q by Aston Martin - and integrate it into its Special Products Division.
Mr Palmer added: “Often cynics dismiss talk of a ‘new era’ in any business as hype but I know the cars we have on show here today at Geneva, along with the major work that’s ongoing in the UK and around the world to re-tool and re-equip our business for the exciting times ahead, more than merits the use of the phrase.
“Aston Martin has a proud 102-year heritage of luxury sports cars and, with the exciting plans we now have in place that put customers once again at the very heart of our thinking and our operations, I’m confident it will continue to shine as a luxury business in the decades ahead.”