LONDON — Aston Martin’s chief finance officer, Mark Wilson, will leave the company following a tumultuous 2019 in which the automaker’s losses ballooned after sales dropped and it drafted in a new investor to help turn around the company.
Aston Martin posted a 104.3 million-pound ($136 million) pretax loss in 2019 after a 7 percent decline in core wholesale demand.
The company said Wilson will step down from his role no later than April 30, but that he had not been fired.
Aston Martin said last month that Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll will buy up to 20 percent of the company and existing shareholders would also inject more cash to stabilize the automaker. Stoll will become the company’s executive chairman.
“The big difference between last year and this year is the strength of the balance year,” CEO Andy Palmer told Reuters. “We are in a very different place and have therefore an ability to properly destock and that means gets the balance right between supply and demand.”
China was a bright spot in its performance last year with sales rising 28 percent but the company, like the rest of the industry, has seen demand drop due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Aston has seen disruption to the arrival of certain parts but said it had not had to stop production at its factories, with components secured until at least the end of March because it has no direct suppliers in China.
“Since almost the first weeks of the New Year we have had issues with those Tier 2 and Tier 3 suppliers which have meant that our supply chain guys have had to be on it constantly,” Palmer said.
“We are ironically benefiting from the fact that we built up a Brexit stock,” he said, in a reference to extra components the firm held in case Britain’s departure from the European Union led to additional delays in the movement of goods.
The company said deliveries of its first SUV, the DBX, were scheduled for the summer but were subject to any impact from the coronavirus outbreak on the supply chain.
It predicted a decline in first-half revenue as it waits on the DBX, which is key to the automaker’s growth plans,
Almost all earnings this year will be come in the second half, Aston Martin said.
The DBX is selling well, Palmer said, having already secured orders in excess of the planned retail target for 2020.
Excluding the SUV, wholesales are expected to be “materially lower” than last year as Aston focuses on reducing inventories that have pushed down prices.
Aston Martin has delayed plans to electrify its lineup until “no earlier than 2025,” and Palmer said the company would focus on plug-in hybrid vehicles in the meantime, starting with the Valhalla model in 2022.
“We have enhanced the deployment of our V-6 plug-in hybrid so there is a lot of work going into that technology and it will go across a greater range of cars,” Palmer said.
The automaker predicted a decline in first-half revenue as it waits on the new DBX SUV.
Bloomberg contributed to this report