By making fewer, but more profitable sports cars.
It’s a known fact Aston Martin has been going through a rough patch lately, but there might be a light at the end of the tunnel following a major investment made by Lawrence Stroll who owns the Racing Point F1 team. As part of the investment deal, the Canadian billionaire has taken a 16.7 percent in Aston Martin for £182 million ($224M) and has been named executive chairman. Autocar wanted to find out how the cash infusion will help the sports car marque shape up its future by chatting with the company’s CEO, Andy Palmer.
A new business model will be implemented as Aston Martin aims to become the “British Ferrari” by manufacturing fewer sports cars and selling them at a higher profit margin. Palmer said the company made 5,800 vehicles for wholesale last year and plans on building fewer in 2020 in a bid to make the Gaydon marque a more exclusive brand:
“It’s time for us to make good and try to become the British Ferrari, asking customers to spec their cars individually and wait for them to be built. The DBX is already showing how we mean to go on. We’re building those cars only for retail and our order book for 2020 is full.”
Andy Palmer is hoping Lawrence Stroll’s experience as a long-time Ferrari importer (and huge collector of Prancing Horses) will help Aston Martin build a more effective business plan. The first order of business is to clear off remaining stock and then focus on build-to-order cars while making sure the DBX SUV’s “quality is perfect” from the very first batch of customer cars.
Beyond the DBX, Aston Martin has a lot on its plate in regards to mid-engined cars as Andy Palmer told Autocar the Valkyrie is still on track for a 2020 release, followed by the Valhalla in 2022 and the new Vanquish in 2023. The company is also working on a new twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 engine while developing a plug-in hybrid powertrain – both of which the CEO wants to see integrated into the lineup “as soon as possible.”
The Lagonda sub-brand has been put on the backburner but Palmer hopes it will become a priority around the middle of the decade. As for the Rapide E, a production version of the electric sedan is still not happening, but Aston Martin’s CEO sees the silver lining in this setback as the lessons learned during the development phase will come in handy when the time will come to invest heavily in EVs.