Aston Martin is counting on strong sales of its first SUV, the DBX, to turn around the struggling company.
The carmaker is indebt, and has had to increase its debt in order to facilitate the development of the off-roader, but in an interview with Automotive News Europe, Aston Martin boss Andy Palmer said that DBX will help turnaround the company’s fortunes.
“Every car we launch is important because of the way the business runs. But in terms of changing the company so that we address each of the luxury clusters, this is really important,” he said. “So far, we have replaced the core GT and sports cars — our historical ground. This is the first model that expands the portfolio.”
Palmer said that Aston Martin is hoping to build between 4,000-5,000 DBXs a year, almost doubling its output, but it faces stiff competition in the form of the well-established Porsche Cayenne and Range Rover.
“Today more than 70 percent of Aston Martin customers have an SUV in the garage, so the hard work is already done,” said Palmer. “We just need to convert those people from their daily driver into an Aston Martin SUV.”
“They are coming out of Porsche Cayennes and Range Rovers. What we are looking to do is cream off the top of that premium SUV sector. The Cayenne has been an important benchmark in the development of the car. Our cars don’t compete directly, but they [Porsche] are a very credible source when it comes to ride and handling, and build quality.”
One critique of the DBX has been that it might have arrived too late. Rival brands such as Bentley, Lamborghini, Maserati, and Rolls-Royce all joined the SUV market in recent years, and amid growing environmental concerns, there’s speculation that the SUV bubble could soon burst, but that’s not something Palmer is expecting.
“The whole industry is under the spotlight in terms of CO2 so obviously it’s important to make increasingly efficient SUVs. Do I think there’s a wholesale change from SUVs back to another type of vehicle? I don’t see it at the moment,” he said. “If you look at the startup EV makers they are all basically starting with SUVs. If you look around the world, the SUV is the preferred body type.”