Aston Martin Lagonda calls itself the world’s only independent luxury car group and is preparing for an IPO. Whatever happens, the company now seems to have a good plan to make the business viable, provided of course, there are no nasty shocks for the world economy.

Like all companies which deal only with the top end of the luxury car market, AML will be highly exposed to the next global recession. Its management seems well aware of just such a danger, and appears to be running the business with a sharp focus on the maximisation of income. The costs involved in the firm’s moves into electrification are substantial too, with no guarantee that customers will be desirous of Lagondas and Aston Martins powered by energy stored in batteries. Risks are therefore aplenty.

Rumours of an IPO have abounded for years and lately, those noises have grown louder with mention of a GBP1.0bn partial listing on the London Stock Exchange for later in 2018 which may value the firm at around the GBP5bn mark. In order to achieve the highest possible influx of resultant funds, AML must paint a picture of itself as a company which is fighting fit. Making that a reality involves work on multiple fronts.

Using the past to fund the future

Super-expensive limited edition cars such as the newly announced run of 25 DB5s in James Bond specification – each costing a staggering GBP2.75m before tax – are but one example of the company’s strategy. A hypercar is also planned, and it’s a certainty that others will follow this one, which is to be called ‘Valkyrie’. A not dissimilar strategy has been pursued by Ferrari for some years, with the result being lavish profits.

Aston Martin needs strong cashflow to reach its goals. Margins must also become comparable to those enjoyed by its larger Italian supercar rival and the far bigger and infinitely richer Porsche SE.

As long as the economies of countries targeted by Aston Martin steer clear of any deep recession, the firm should be able to reach and remain at a level of profit where it becomes self-funding. Mercedes-AMG, a key partner for powertrains, can also assist by providing electrification options.

A decent injection of funds may come as soon as late 2018 if the planned IPO is successful. This will be key to a goal of building and selling 10,000 vehicles a year is to be achieved by 2020. Pushing above the 6,000-7,000 cars a year level is the interim goal, taking AML past the annual output of Ferrari and keeping it well ahead of McLaren Automotive.

Aston Martin

The Rapide, Aston Martin’s sole sedan, is nearing the end of its life and about to be reinvented as a battery-electric model. First seen as a concept at the Detroit auto show in January 2009, series production version started a year later. Magna Steyr originally made this car at its Graz plant but Aston Martin brought build in-house in 2012.

The vehicle uses a stretched DB9 as its basis and the 5,935cc V12 is supplied, like many other Aston Martin engines, from Ford’s Cologne facility.

The final edition of the Rapide was announced in June just ahead of Le Mans. The Rapide AMR has special 21-inch wheels, a 603PS version of the 5.9-litre V12, suspension lowered by 10mm and a unique grille. Aston Martin will build 210 examples.

There won’t be a Rapide AMR replacement; instead the RapidE will be the effective successor. Aston Martin will construct 155 units of this car, a plug-in version of the Rapide hatchback. The firm has been working with Williams Advanced Engineering to bring the RapidE to market in 2019.

Speaking at the Pebble Beach Concours three years ago, AML’s CEO Andy Palmer said the electric Aston would have a range of 200 miles and that its output would be 800 or more horsepower. Advances in battery chemistry since Palmer announced the car should mean a longer range than originally stated.

In February 2016 came additional news that Chinese technology group LeEco would be Aston Martin’s partner in bringing the car to market. Both companies would also be collaborating with Faraday Future, the start-up electric car firm backed by Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting. Also in February 2016, Aston Martin stated that the RapidE would be built at Gaydon from 2018.

According to a 27 June 2017 press release, Williams Advanced Engineering, which worked on the RapidE concept, “will assist Aston Martin with the complex task of engineering integration”. It is now understood that LeEco is no longer a partner, which is why the RapidE’s release has been pushed back. Other than ‘2019’, AML has yet to state a firm date for the first delivieres of the RapidE.

This time next year Aston Martin will be adding a crossover to its range. Such a model was previewed by the DBX, a concept which premiered at the Geneva motor show in March 2015.

The vehicle’s name might not yet known – DBX is a working title and Varekai is rumoured – but the location of where it will be assembled is. This will be to the west of Cardiff airport. A former Ministry of Defence site, St Athan in Glamorgan has two Super Hangars which are being converted to build not just the crossover but other future models.

The DBX would be mainly for the US and China, Aston Martin stated in May 2015. It will use an Aston architecture. As for engines, there are no firm facts as yet. However, any V12 would be supplied by Ford Werke in Cologne, while a V8 could be sourced from AMG and an in-line six from Mercedes-Benz.

The crossover’s life cycle will be seven years, which means a facelift would take place in 2023.

The replacement for the V8-engined Vantage was announced in November 2017; the coupé being first, with the roadster expected to be revealed later in 2018. Aston Martin hopes that the Vantage, which is its least expensive sports car, will become the marque’s best seller. The company is expecting to deliver an average of 3,500 units of this model series during seven years of production.

The car’s engine is a 375kW (510PS) version of the AMG-supplied 4.0-litre V8 engine used by the DB11 V8. Torque is quoted as 600Nm. Top speed is claimed to be 314km/h (195mph). An eight-speed ZF automatic is standard with a Graziano-supplied manual option to be added in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The company released the Vantage in its home market with an ambitious 20 per cent price rise to just under GBP120,900. At only 4,465mm long it is 284mm shorter than a DB11.

The trade fair premiere for the Vantage took place at this year’s Geneva motor show with series production commencing in May. There will likely be a V12 engine added in 2019. Three years after that is when the mid-life facelift should take place. The next generation Vantage is expected in 2025 or 2026.

The next rung on the price ladder for sports cars is the DB11. This was the first car to use Aston Martin’s bonded aluminium platform. Distinctive features include a front-hinged bonnet.

The company has a tradition of revealing cars at the Geneva show. So it was that this replacement for the DB9 had its world premiere at the 2016 event. The first deliveries of the 2+2 V12 coupé took place six months later, production having commenced in August 2016.

Initially, the DB11 was powered solely by a 5.2-litre biturbo V12 which is codenamed AE31. Like the 5.9-litre AE28 V12, this is made by Ford Werke at its Niehl foundry in Cologne. The self-developed (i.e. not a modified Mercedes-AMG unit) engine produced a claimed 600bhp (447kW) and 700Nm of torque.

The 600bhp version of the V12 proved to be short lived. A 630bhp (470kW) version was announced in May. This is for the DB11 AMR, which replaced the DB11. As well as the 30 additional brake horsepower, top speed rises to 208mph and the 0-62mph time falls to 3.7 seconds. Torque is the same 700Nm as the former, less powerful 5.2-litre V12.

There is another engine for the DB11 and this is a V8. Announced by Aston Martin in June 2017, the world debut took place days later at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Mercedes-AMG supplies the DB11’s 3,982cc biturbo engine. Outputs are 510PS and 675Nm. The V8, being lighter and more compact than the V12, contributes to a claimed saving of 115kg and a kerb weight of 1,760kg. The cubic capacity enables the DB11 V8 to slip below a key tax threshold in the Chinese market. It went on sale worldwide from late 2017.

The reason why the model name is DB11 was the ten cars built for the James Bond film Spectre. This model, the DB10, served as a preview of the styling of the then future Vantage, not the DB11.

A convertible (‘Volante’) would follow in “spring 2018” Aston Martin’s Twitter feed stated in September 2016. Thirteen months later, the DB11 Volante was announced. It is, for the moment, available only with the V8 engine. A V12 will follow later in the lifecycle of the car.

The DB11 series should be facelifted in 2020. The DB12 will likely be revealed in 2023 and go on sale by the end of that year.

The previous Vanquish S went out of production in February and has just been replaced by the DBS Superleggera. This 4,712mm long 2+2 has carbon fibre body panels and is powered by a 5.2-litre biturbo V12. Outputs are claimed to be 725PS and 900Nm of torque. The top speed is quoted as 211mph and 0-62mph is said to take 3.4 seconds. The gearbox is a ZF eight-speed torque converter automatic.

The yet to be seen DBS Superleggera Volante (convertible) will be added to the line-up in 2019, as will an AMS variant of each. Each of these cars is due to have a mid-cycle facelift in 2022 with the successor for the DBS Superleggera being planned for release in 2025, and followed a year later by the next generation DBS Superleggera Volante.

A mid-engined model was announced by Andy Palmer at the 2017 Geneva motor show. Intended to be a rival for the McLaren 720S and Ferrari 488 replacement, its release has been pushed back to 2021 from an original 2020. The Vanquish model name is expected to return and be used for this car.

The Valkyrie was announced in March 2016 and revealed as a prototype at the Toronto auto show 11 months later. This future hypercar is a collaboration with the Red Bull F1 team’s Adrian Newey. A total of “between 99 and 150” road cars will be built, as well as 25 track-only versions.

Multimatic, which makes the Ford GT, will supply the carbon monocell, while Cosworth will be the source of the 6.5-litre V12. A seven-speed transmission will come from Ricardo; Croatia-based Rimac will supply the lightweight hybrid battery system; Robert Bosch will be the source of the ECU, traction control and electronic stability program systems; while Wipac is to be responsible for the LED headlamps and tail lamps.

The Valkyrie is expected to have around 1,130hp and to weigh just 1,030kg. Production is due to commence in mid-2019.


Aston Martin will attempt to make Lagonda a marque in its own right again. For more than 50 years it has instead been used occasionally as a model name. Now it is to be reinvented as a brand which offers battery-electric vehicles for those who might be considering a Bentley or a Rolls-Royce.

The first Lagonda could be a limited production plug-in sedan, possibly to be called Taraf. This would act as the replacement for the Aston Martin RapidE and explains why that model has no inked-in successor. Such a car could potentially be a new body on the RapidE and give the marque a publicity-gathering and price place-holding model for a year or two before the first truly new Lagonda arrives in 2021.

At this year’s Geneva motor show, three concepts were displayed, two of which were mere scale models. The coupé and the SUV were shown “to illustrate how the Lagonda design language could be adapted for the future”. The main vehicle was a full sized crossover, the Lagonda Vision Concept.

In May, the company said that it would “unveil” an electric Lagonda SUV in 2021 and that this would be the brand’s first new model in some years. The vehicle would be styled as an “evolution of the Lagonda Vision Concept revealed at the 2018 Geneva motor show”.

The company is yet to state when it will begin building this model. No production location has been named either. Speculation suggests that the high priced electric SUV will be either made in small numbers at the St Athan factory or else outsourced to a specialist firm.

Recent reports for many other manufacturers’ future models are grouped in the OEM product strategy summaries section of

Future product program intelligence

More detail on the past, current and forthcoming models can be found in PLDB, the future vehicles database which is part of QUBE.

The next manufacturer to be featured in the future models reports series will be General Motors.