• Aston Martin CEO wants Aston Martin reinvention as a sustainable luxury brand.
  • Global luxury car market forecast to see further growth, driven by emerging markets.
  • Customisation of product and service to the customer becoming more important.
  • Decision on location of additional manufacturing plant expected in Q3. 
Palmer wants Aston Martins second century (the company is 102 years old) to see it flourish as a sustainable luxury business

Palmer wants Aston Martin's 'second century' (the company is 102 years old) to see it flourish as a 'sustainable luxury business'

Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer has told an industry conference that the company is targeting a growing class of luxury consumers in emerging markets and that he believes it can reinvent itself as a sustainable luxury brand.

Speaking at the Automotive News Europe Congress in Birmingham, Palmer said that the company now has a funded programme for new model introductions in place and needs to reinvent itself as a sustainable luxury brand that makes automobiles. In his view, Aston Martin should be seen as a luxury brand in the same company as well-known non-automotive luxury brands. "That's perhaps a change from being seen as an automobile company that sells to luxury customers," he said. 

Palmer maintains that a look at the company's 102 years of history suggests that it needs a better and more sustainable business model in order to properly fund new product development and make profits.

"We still need to be the coolest brand in the world," he said. "But we need to build on the image and culture that we have so that, most importantly, we build the brand as a luxury brand. We have to reinvent ourselves as a luxury brand and break out of the 102-year cycle of feast and famine. We have the brand to do that. What we need is the strategy and bravery to make that change."

Palmer told delegates that the global luxury market is expected to continue to grow. "Projections show that there are more people with high disposable income - high net worth individuals - people with plenty of cash. And those are the customers to whom we sell." Palmer said that more of these people in the future will be in places like China and the Middle East.

"The [global] luxury car market is growing at around 10% per annum and we need to find our way into that. However, what those individuals are buying is changing and as Aston Martin we need to appeal to their needs and provide solutions for them. In places like Brazil, the Middle East and China, luxury cars are still perceived as social enablers. They are also looking for a 360 degrees customisation trend, quite often not buying off the peg, but wanting a Savile Row type of [made-to-measure, customised] experience. We can see a tripling of the selling price to our customers through customisation; they increasingly want a bespoke service."

Palmer also said that the luxury SUV/crossover space will be important for Aston Martin in the future (the company recently confirmed that it has funding in place for a 'DBX Crossover') and that the company will replace all of its sports cars over the next three years. "That will mean a brand new platform, new engines and a new series of upper bodies." Referring to the DBX Crossover, he said that it is not an SUV. "It's not an SUV. It is very difficult to make a box beautiful," he joked. "Rather, it sits in the crossover space between a sports car and the usability of an SUV."

He also told delegates that the company is looking at location options for a new plant to make the DBX Crossover due to capacity constraints at Gaydon and acknowledged that the US State of Alabama is a candidate. "One of the candidates is Alabama, but likewise there are a number of other US States that have expressed interest as well as other countries that have expressed interest and there is also interest from within the UK. A decision will be made in the third quarter of this year."

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