MONTEREY, California. -- Aston Martin will rely on intimate consumer gatherings, such as dealer ride-and-drives and sponsored racetrack events, to market the Rapide sedan, CEO Ulrich Bez said.
Aston Martin is counting on the Rapide, the automaker's first sedan in nearly 20 years, to raise consideration for the brand among luxury buyers. But a tight marketing budget is restricting Aston Martin's ability to promote the car against competitors with bigger media budgets, such as Porsche and its Panamera. That means Aston Martin will concentrate on small, intimate events, Bez said.
"Big companies spend big money on big events," he said. "We're small, and we can't cope with that kind of spend. The Rapide is a new car in a new category for us. This kind of communication takes more time without a big advertising campaign."
Aston Martin will sell 5,000 vehicles globally this year, Bez said, up from about 4,000 cars in 2009.
Rapide sales are expected to be about 2,000 of those units, although the contracted Magna Steyr plant in Graz, Austria, could build 4,000 if needed. The Rapide starts at 95,000 euros in Germany and $201,300 in the United States, including freight.
Aston Martin has taken 800 orders for the Rapide, but "the real deal comes next year once we are established in the market," Bez said. "The sales numbers are coming."