Aston Martin, builder of premium British GT cars, does not sell nearly as many cars as it used to. In fact,Â Aston Martin’s 2017’s output will fall some 30 percent below the brand’s record volume from a decade ago.
But that’s only part of the story. Aston Martin’s global 2017 volume will be 36-percent higher thanÂ it was just last year. Moreover, Aston Martin sales will more than double in the next two years.Â
In an interview with Automotive News Europe, Andy Palmer clarified the benefits of Aston Martin’s current sales pace. Sure, Aston Martin was selling more cars prior to the recession, but Palmer says the financial story is entirely different. “In 2007, EBITDA [earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization] was Â£92 million,” Palmer says. “Last year we were at Â£101 million.” Aston Martin sold 7,200 cars in 2007; only 3,687 in 2016.
Aston Martin undoubtedly faces no shortage of Brexit confusion. The definition of “local content” changes dramatically once the United Kingdom departs the European Union. Regardless of the changes the brand would need to make, Palmer says, “I can’t see a scenario where we bring engine production back.”
Aston Martin’s engines are currently built in Cologne, Germany.Running two shifts at Aston Martin’s Gaydon assembly plant in Warwickshire, England, will likely result in 7,000 annual sales in 2019. As for operating a third shift that would drum production up to 10,000 units in Gaydon, Palmer explains that, “it’s quite inefficient to do a three-shift system.”
“Usually, the extra money you put in and the extra production you get out are not linear,” the formerly the chief planning officer at Nissan and Infiniti’s chairman says. “You can do it, but it’s better to build a new factory.”
Speaking of new factories, production of the DBX, Aston Martin’s SUV, will begin in St Athan, Wales, in 2019. We leaned previously that the production DBX won’t maintain the concept’s coupe bodystyle. That’s surely necessary if the DBX Â is going to achieve volume levels “about the same as the Bentley Bentayga.” That’s about 5,000 annual sales, or about what Aston Martin earns right now from an expansive network of cars: DB11, Rapide, Vanquish, Vantage.
But will the DBX, which Palmer previously said was necessary for the survival of the brand, merely steal sales from Aston Martin’s current car lineup? “I think we will end up taking customers from Range Rovers and Cayennes,” Palmer says. “72 percent of our customers globally have an SUV in their garage, mostly Range Rovers.”
[Images: Aston Martin]
Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor ofÂ GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.