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Demand for luxury

Aston Martin SUV now accounts for half of sales

DBX: winning brand (pictured at Archerfield)

New car sales may be slowing, but luxury maker Aston Martin is enjoying a surge in demand for its DBX SUV, possibly helped by the publicity around the new James Bond movie which features four of its models.

The company said the DBX, which retails for £158,000, accounts for more than half of its core sales so far this year. It said that a second version will launch in the first half of 2022.

There has also been a “strong response” to what it calls its ‘era-defining hypercar’, the Valhalla, which was revealed in prototype form in the summer.

Since January, the company has sold 4,250 cars worldwide, of which 2,186 were DBXs. The sales boost comes in spite of restricted production capacity at the firm’s new St Athan factory during the ramp up to full-scale output.

There has been a 600% rise in sales in China which alone accounts for 16% of Aston `Martin sales this year, compared with 6% in 2020.

The latest figures follow the instigation of its ‘Project Horizon’ transformation strategy, a year after ex-AMG boss Tobias Moers took over as chief executive.

It has almost tripled its year-to-date revenues to £736.4 million – up 173% year-on-year (2020: £270m). However, the growth has come at a cost as Aston took on a £1.1bn loan last October.

Mr Moers, who replaced Andy Palmer as part of a board room upheaval, said there had been a shift to a “demand-led, ultra-luxury operating model” as a factor in the brand’s relative financial health, and said the brand has taken orders for cars stretching into 2022.

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Its pre-tax loss for Q3 rose from £80.5m to £97.9m and finance chief Ken Gregor has been quoted saying the costs are “higher than we would have wished”, and that the firm will bear the brunt of these interest repayments until “probably 2023”.

However, the operating loss for the quarter is down – from £69.8m in Q3 2020 to £30.2m and the company has repeated its aim to achieve 10,000 annual sales by 2024/2025, which would net around £2bn in revenue and £500m in pre-tax earnings. It estimates it will finish 2021 with 6,000 sales.

Aston Martin has already announced that electrified cars will account for 90% of its global sales by 2030. It is widely anticipated that the new DBX variant will be a mild hybrid, while an all-electric SUV and sports car will be built in the UK from 2025.

New car sales down

New car sales across the UK fell for the fourth consecutive month in October, down 24.6% from this time last year to 106,265, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). This was the weakest October since 1991.

Chip shortages and tax rises mean industry expects to finish year on 1.66m units, only 1.9% ahead of COVID-19-hit 2020

But environmentally conscious consumers continued to move away from petrol and diesel cars, in the month ahead of COP26.

Battery electric vehicles equalled their September market share of 15.2% with 16,155 units, while plug-in hybrid vehicles grew to 7.9% or 8,382 units.



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