Aston Martin has just unveiled the DBX SUV, a vehicle that will be crucial to the company's survival after lower-than-expected demand for its core sports cars pushed it to losses in the second and third quarters. CEO Andy Palmer has had to increase the company's debt to cover the DBX's final development ahead of deliveries in mid-2020. Palmer told Automotive News Europe Correspondent Nick Gibbs that he is confident the SUV will win the company new customers and pave the way for the promised rollout of a mid-engine sports car and the Lagonda luxury electric brand.
How important is the DBX?
Every car we launch is important because of the way the business runs. But in terms of changing the company so that we address each of the luxury clusters, this is really important. So far, we have replaced the core GT and sports cars -- our historical ground. This is the first model that expands the portfolio.
How many can you sell in a full year?
About 4,000 a year with a peak of 5,000.
What does that mean for 2020 sales?
I can't give forward-looking data but we are about 6,000 to 6,500 units this year. We will not have a full year of DBX but we've more sport cars coming: the Vantage roadster arrives next year, and the mid-engine car [the Vanquish, comes in 2021]. The DBX will represent the largest-single volume.
Where will DBX customers come from?
Today more than 70 percent of Aston Martin customers have an SUV in the garage, so the hard work is already done. We just need to convert those people from their daily driver into an Aston Martin SUV. They are coming out of Porsche Cayennes and Range Rovers. What we are looking to do is cream off the top of that premium SUV sector. The Cayenne has been an important benchmark in the development of the car. Our cars don't compete directly, but they [Porsche] are a very credible source when it comes to ride and handling, and build quality.