By on October 7, 2017

2017 Aston Martin DB11 - Image: Aston MartinAston Martin, builder of premium British GT cars, does not sell nearly as many cars as it used to. In fact, 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 than it was just last year. Moreover, Aston Martin sales will more than double in the next two years. 

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 £92 million,” Palmer says. “Last year we were at £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.Aston Martin factory Newport Pagnell Gaydon - Image: Aston MartinRunning 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  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 and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.

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22 Comments on “Aston Martin Sales Are Rising, but They’re About to Rise Much Faster...”

  • avatar

    Aston Martin’s SUV …

    “But at least it enables them to continue developing sports cars”, say the commentators.

    “Why do you waste time and resources on Sports Cars when the SUV brings in more profits”, say the investors.

    Goodbye Aston Sports Cars (ditto all the other companies squandering their brand heritage on the vehicular cancer that are SUV/CUVs).

  • avatar

    “We leaned previously that the production DBX won’t maintain the concept’s coupe bodystyle.”

    Gleaned, or Learned?

  • avatar

    Roll out the EV editions. Those would be the safe used buys…

  • avatar

    That is a beautiful car. Probably has the reliability of a Yugo, but man is it gorgeous!

    • 0 avatar

      Seriously, enough with this. Astons are just fine on the reliability scale. Mine has just undergone routine maintenance for the 3 years I have owned it (it’s a 2008). That’s even with tracking it every year.

  • avatar

    Earnings are much higher now despite lower production: Efficiency gains or higher prices?

  • avatar

    Perhaps it was too much to expect that the article would mention the other real reason Aston expects to sell more cars – the Mercedes 4.0l Twin Turbo V8. Available for less than the V12 ancient double Ford Duratech V6 versions and almost as powerful while weighing the front wheels down a whole lot less. 250 pounds less weight, $15K less money, going in the DB11 and Vantage starting right about now, which is good news for people a whole lot wealthier than I am.

    • 0 avatar

      The V12 in the DB11 isn’t the Ford V6-derived unit that powered the DB9 (and still powers other V12 Astons).

      I genuinely cannot see having the kind of money to buy an Aston Martin and getting for the V8 unless that was what I wanted. Why someone interested in the kind of prestige which is one of the primary reasons for purchasing a car in this class wouldn’t spring for the V12 is beyond me. I’m sure the V8 is a wonderful engine, but if at all possible, I’d splurge on the engine configuration you can’t get in a pickup truck.

  • avatar

    Glad someone pushed back on Cain’s obsession with volume. He does this with other manufacturers. What matters is ATP, and revenue/profit from this sales. Not volume for the sake of it.

  • avatar

    Isn’t engine made in Ford’s Cologne plant? I mean engine should be developed by Ford or based on Ford engine.

  • avatar

    The marque is unprofitable, my suspicion is this is simply an attempt at stemming losses and Aston is really just a jewel in someone’s crown (or possibly Daimler or Ford use it to test their technology as GM did Oldsmobile for many decades).

    “In 2014, Aston Martin suffered a pre-tax loss of £72 million, almost triple that of 2013 selling 3,500 cars during the year, well below 7,300 sold in 2007 and 4,200 sold in 2013.[66] In March 2014 Aston Martin issued “payment in kind” notes of US$165 million, at 10.25% interest, in addition to the £304 million of senior secured notes at 9.25% issued in 2011.[66] Aston Martin also had to secure an additional investment of £200 million from its shareholders to fund development of new models.[66] It is reported that Aston Martin’s pre-tax losses for 2016 increased by 27% to £162.8 million, the sixth year it continued to suffer a loss.[67]”

    • 0 avatar

      Aston Martin is all about image, everything else is secondary. All British brands in fact are like that. It’s all about preserving tradition and heritage (the one thing American companies are not capable of). German developed mechanical parts are just bonus.

      • 0 avatar

        I agree with your assessment, but in an article all about increasing sales with a new model curiously left out was the marque’s lack of profitability for six straight years. Although outside of the scope of the piece, I’d also like to know how or why the marque’s owners are alright with this.

        • 0 avatar

          British brands are not supposed to be profitable, like Tesla. It is about prestige, like owning crown jewels or Queen herself.

          I remembers Ford was losing billions on AM/LR and was proud to own them. Until Alan came and restored sanity. Ford is losing sanity again lately unfortunately.

  • avatar

    Aston Martin?

    Sales Rising?

    Do they make pickup trucks?

    No, you say?

    Then they are irrelevant and uninteresting for the “Good Ole’ USA”…


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