England’s Aston Martin Lagonda has finally launched production of it first crossover model, the sporty DBX. The first batch of cars will reach British showrooms by the end of July.
DBX launch day (Image: Aston Martin)
About 80% of output will go to foreign markets, and a successful reception for the $193,000 car is critical for the company’s survival.
Just in Time
Or to put it in more optimistic terms, the DBX will “drive Aston Martin into a bold new era,” says Marek Reichman, the iconic brand’s chief creative officer.
Which is exactly what the company, which has been grappling with financial headwinds for a year, needs right now.
Certainly the DBX delivers on the company’s unique blend of performance, style and luxury. The all-wheel-drive crossover is propelled by a Mercedes AMG-supplied twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 that makes 542 hp. The engine is a juiced-up version of the engine Aston Marin uses in its DB11 and Vantage sport coupes.
Inside, the DBX is awash in elegant materials, impeccable stitching and tastefully understated controls and switchgear.
The DBX, unveiled as a concept in 2015, has been in prelaunch mode since it was unveiled in near-ready form more than 18 months ago. Output tried to begin in March at the company’s new factory in Wales, but the effort was stymied by the coronavirus. Operations resumed in May, 10 months after the carmaker began taking orders.
Forever linked to the fictional British spy James Bond, Aston Martin has been coy about how many DBXs it hopes to sell per year. The company, which wholesaled only 5,900 vehicles last year, expects the new crossover will soon become its best-selling model.
“Best-selling” is a relative term here. The company had high hopes for itself and the DBX in 2018. CEO Andy Palmer predicted demand for the crossover and a now-delayed Rapid E electric sports car would push annual sales to a record 10,000 units in 2020 and to 14,000 by 2025.
But by last year, global markets had stalled, and Aston Martin’s sales were on their way to falling 18% below the record 7,400-unit target Palmer had in mind.
Hopes for the company’s initial public offering, which floated at £19 ($22) per share in October 2018, also were dashed as the stock went into an immediate swoon. By the beginning of this year, shares were at £4 and still falling.
Lucky for Aston Martin, its ultra-low stock price made the company a bargain for brave investors. Earlier this year Lawrence Stroll—Canadian tycoon and owner of Formula One’s Race Point team—led a group that swooped in to buy up 25% of the company and inject nearly $700 million in operating capital.
Now the carmaker’s executive chairman, Stroll vows to stabilize the company and make sure its future product programs get back on track. He also is transforming his F1 team into Aston Martin F1.
Stroll also describes himself as “extremely pleased” that the DBX has a strong order book stretching well into 2021.
A hot product. Funding Strong management. All the right elements are in place at Aston Martin. All the company needs now is a little cooperation from the marketplace.
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