Aston Martin plans double-digit sales growth
Brand is working on reviving Lagonda marque with Daimler as a potential partner
UK sports car maker Aston Martin expects double-digit sales growth this year, helped by the brand's expansion in China.
"Our sales situation in 2012 will not be significantly different from last year. The exception is that we have gained China as a major market," Aston Martin CEO Ulrich Bez told Automotive News Europe.
"With our 10 dealers in China, I expect additional sales of roughly 700 cars there, with the other markets remaining constant," Bez said in an interview
In 2011, Aston Martin sold 4,200 cars worldwide. The brand's all-time high was 7,400 units in 2007.
Bez said he has achieved his early goal of expanding the brand's sales beyond its UK home market. When he became Aston Martin CEO in 2000, the brand's annual sales were 800 cars, of which 700 were sold in the UK.
"My goal was to sell a third of our cars in Europe and another third in America," he said. "We have achieved that. Some 80 percent of our sales are now outside of the UK."
Bez plans 3 more years as Aston Martin CEO.
Profitability is more important than sales volume. "We have been operating in the black continuously since 2004," Bez said.
In 2010, Aston Martin had 474.3 million pounds in revenue and 93.3 million pounds in profits before taxes and interest. "We can expect a similar order of magnitude for 2011," Bez said.
Aston Martin will further expand its global sales network. "We have 136 dealers. By 2013, this will be 150, thanks to new additions in China. We want to grow in all regions," Bez said.
Aston Martin opened its first Chinese dealership in January. "This year, we want to open up to 12 dealers in China. By the end of 2013, there should be a total of about 20 dealers," the CEO said.
The brand, which currently sells cars in 42 countries, will also launch into new markets. "If we manage to breathe life back into the Lagonda brand, we could have a presence in 100 countries," Bez said.
Aston Martin is considering relaunching the 106-year-old Lagonda brand by offering an SUV and sedan with the badge. "I assume that we will be able to present the first vehicle concepts and the time frame in the coming year," Bez said.
Aston Martin unveiled a Lagonda concept car at the 2009 Geneva auto show based on the Mercedes GL. "We consider the GL platform to be an appropriate basis for the Lagonda, as presented in Geneva," he said.
Aston Martin is talking to several potential partners in the areas of financing, sales and technology, including Daimler, the executive said.
Since 2007, Bez has been a co-owner of Aston Martin. Kuwait-based Investment Dar und Adeem Investment are the majority stakeholders.
Bez said he plans to continue as CEO. "My contract was originally supposed to run until 2012. We extended it to 2015 last year."