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    Thread: Aston: DBX is the most important model in our history

    1. Senior Member Wimbledon's Avatar
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      08-28-2019 01:06 AM #1
      https://www.thedetroitbureau.com/201...o-andy-palmer/



      Quote Originally Posted by The Detroit Bureau
      Q&A: Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer

      After a huge stock sell-off, British marque struggles to rebuild confidence.

      The recent sell-off was triggered by Aston’s announcement that full-year 2019 production would be about 10% lower than originally forecast, at around 6,400 vehicles. It didn’t help when Moody’s cut its rating for Aston stock into junk bond territory, warning the ultra-premium carmaker’s cashflow will make it difficult to fund its aggressive product development program.

      Despite such dire warnings, Aston CEO Andy Palmer remains confident things will improve, notably with the upcoming launch of the DBX, the brand’s first SUV. TheDetroitBureau.com spoke to Palmer about its products, plans and strategies and whether it can prove the naysayers wrong:

      TDB: You’ve had some tough weeks, with your reduced 2019 sales forecast triggering a sharp slump in Aston’s stock price. How can you regain the confidence of investors?

      Palmer: It’s perhaps been some of the most difficult weeks of my career. Nobody likes to hear their child being called ugly. There are people out there who don’t believe our story, don’t want to believe our story, want to bet against us, and worse, use the media to drive us down. The only way you can work against that is demonstrate they’re wrong. We’re already three cars in (to Aston’s seven-car plan) and you’re soon going to see the fourth and, I hope, that will begin to change attitudes.

      TDB: You’re talking the DBX, your first sport-utility vehicle?

      Palmer: Yes, and that will give way to the mid-engine cars. The best racing cars in the world, Formula One cars, are built in the UK, and we’re using that technology to bring those cars to the road. We’re all about exploiting British talent. So, it’s bizarre to see how people are downplaying our ambition. Ambition is good.

      TDB: Let’s get back to the DBX. As important as those mid-engine cars will be, and as important as the revival of the Lagonda brand will be, those are niches. Considering the huge demand for SUVs, won’t the DBX have to become the foundation of the brand?

      Palmer: We put our heart and soul into making that car the most beautiful SUV in the world and, more importantly, making sure it’s an Aston. It will probably become the most important car in our history, because it will become the car that transforms us as we try to address all parts of the high-luxury market. It will target the U.S. and China, two critical markets and it will change the dynamics of the company.

      TDB: Are you confident that the global market for SUVs will continue to grow, especially at a time when vehicle sales in key markets like the U.S. are slowing down?

      Palmer: There’s a slowdown, across the world, in demand for cars. But, I think it’s fair to say…the more (high-end SUVs) you put out there the bigger the sales grow. Go back four years, before the Bentley (Bentayga) existed, and sales were nothing, the market was zero. You might have said there was no demand for the Lamborghini or the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, or the model Ferrari is coming with. Clearly, the market grows along with the supply of (high-luxury SUVs).

      TDB: One of the reasons investors got nervous was the sharp reduction in your sales forecast for 2019, from 7,250 to just 6,400 cars.

      Palmer: But, year-on-year, we have had a 26% increase in sales. So, you hear we’re had a sales slump and are struggling, but how often have you heard about a car company having a 26% growth in sales. We’re confident about what we’re doing. But we rely on selling cars today to fund the development of cars for the future and that’s what (critics) point to and question whether we can do that. I think we can.

      TDB: The DBX has been designed to allow you to later fit it with various electric drive options. The upcoming Lagonda models will be all electric. Can you talk more about these plans?

      Palmer: A simple strategy, really. Aston Martin goes towards hybridization and Lagonda is our EV play. From a half-empty point of view we need EVs in our range because they help us meet our (fuel economy and emissions) requirements. The half-full point of view is that EVs are great. I led the Nissan Leaf program and fell in love with EVs. We’re set to become the first company that will bring a full EV into the high-luxury space. The market needs innovation. Electrification allows you to get rid of the big 12-cylinder engine and give space back to the passenger. That’s an important part of the innovation of EVs.

      TDB: One might quibble. There already are some very high-end electric supercars, like Rimac’s. And, as with that battery supercar, isn’t part of the appeal of going electric the way it can improve the performance of already fast cars like an Aston Martin?

      Palmer: You can get supercar performance out of an electric motor because you have such incredible amounts of torque. Outright performance is a great thing to have.

      TDB: But what about that other big issue: Range?

      Palmer: Range remains an issue. One of the innovations we brought to market with the Rapid-E (Aston’s limited-edition, four-door EV) is an 800-volt battery system that you can charge twice as quickly as existing batteries. It doesn’t eliminate range anxiety but it helps alleviate that if you have access to a fast charger. In reality, we know that in the high-luxury segment the average journey is 11 miles and daily usage is about 25 miles. So, in that sense, an electric car is perfect. But we have to worry about that once-a-year long journey. That’s where the 800-volt system is so valuable.

      TDB: Let’s wrap up with James Bond. Aston will be back in the next, 25th 007 adventure?

      Palmer: Yes, we have three cars in the next Bond movie. We have the DB5 – where would a Bond movie be without a DB5 – we have the V8 Vantage and then the Valhalla which points to the future of where our brand is moving. Bond and Aston are yin-and-yang. They go hand-in-hand and we’re really privileged and pleased to be part. Our relationship with Eon Productions is stronger than ever.
      Rendering of the rear:

      2018 Fiat 500e
      2008 Audi TT 3.2 quattro manual
      2006 Lotus Exige

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    3. Member TangoRed's Avatar
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      08-28-2019 01:16 AM #2
      Good ****ing luck.
      Quote Originally Posted by Doug Butabi View Post
      And on the tenth day of the two thousand fifteenth year, TCL finds out about rich people.

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      08-28-2019 08:02 AM #3
      AM is like 10 years too late

      Also:

      Electrification allows you to get rid of the big 12-cylinder engine and give space back to the passenger. That’s an important part of the innovation of EVs.
      Is this thing gonna be a BEV? If so ditching the V12 for a 6" battery floor just changes where the space robbery happens. IMO this thing needs a V12 to justify its existence, and can easily be paired with a regular or plug in hybrid system to survive emissions testing.

      Best of luck to 'em cause it sounds like they're gonna need it

    5. Senior Member 2.0T_Convert's Avatar
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      08-28-2019 08:19 AM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by CTK View Post
      AM is like 10 years too late
      I guess that means Bentley was 8 years too late, Rolls was 10 years late, and Ferrari will be 11-14 years past due?

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      08-28-2019 08:33 AM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by 2.0T_Convert View Post
      I guess that means Bentley was 8 years too late, Rolls was 10 years late, and Ferrari will be 11-14 years past due?
      Bentley/Rolls/Ferrari aren't in the existential predicament Aston is. Bentley is under a little pressure but they still have VWAG to leverage. AM is on an island

    7. Senior Member 6cylVWguy's Avatar
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      08-28-2019 10:08 AM #6
      I hope this works for them. One of the few brands where I might consider tolerating potentially hideous reliability. Oh how I would LOVE to have a V12 Vantage. But the SUV is looking pretty nice for what it is. If done right, I'm sure it will help things.

    8. Member Chris_V's Avatar
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      08-28-2019 10:23 AM #7
      Hmm. It really needs to be pretty and I don't think it's going to be. And it really needed to be a V12.

      Astons used to be the prettiest cars on the market. But now they aren't and the "volume" models share engines with Mercedes. No wonder sales are off.
      "Like a fine Detroit wine, this vehicle has aged to budgetary perfection"

    9. 08-28-2019 10:32 AM #8
      Well yeah, AM is almost dead as a company. Their stock has completely tanked, their profits are basically non-existent. If this fails they are completely screwed.

    10. 08-28-2019 10:51 AM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by Venom21 View Post
      Well yeah, AM is almost dead as a company. Their stock has completely tanked, their profits are basically non-existent. If this fails they are completely screwed.
      So basically Porsche when they released the Cayenne.

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      08-28-2019 10:51 AM #10
      Even camouflaged, this looks better than the Lambo, Bentley, and Rolls "exotic" SUVs.

    12. Member TangoRed's Avatar
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      08-28-2019 11:29 AM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by Rob View Post
      So basically Porsche when they released the Cayenne.
      Porsche was on the upswing by then; the Boxster is what brought it out of dire, AM-like circumstances. The Cayenne just catapulted it into a very profitable brand. Further, as CTK mentioned, Porsche got to leverage VW for that project. AM is alone on this and it makes it even more precarious.
      Last edited by TangoRed; 08-28-2019 at 12:36 PM.
      Quote Originally Posted by Doug Butabi View Post
      And on the tenth day of the two thousand fifteenth year, TCL finds out about rich people.

    13. Member Crispyfritter's Avatar
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      08-28-2019 11:54 AM #12
      I'm wondering if AM could introduce an entry level Sports car. A real, honest to goodness British sports car that looks good and starts at $50k and has a sweet sounding V6/hybrid setup that sounds great and has some class.

      Chris
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      08-28-2019 12:11 PM #13
      please stop making lifted cars
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      08-28-2019 12:33 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by Crispyfritter View Post
      I'm wondering if AM could introduce an entry level Sports car. A real, honest to goodness British sports car that looks good and starts at $50k and has a sweet sounding V6/hybrid setup that sounds great and has some class.

      Chris
      The cheaper the sales price, the more money you need.

      To do that they'll probably have to use existing chassis design and drivetrain, essentially just re-body the car, the closest I think they can do is rebody the SLC/SLK, since that line is being retired soon so the tooling can be changed rather quickly, BUT, they probably need to sell at least 5000-10,000 units world wide a year to justify the design costs.

    16. Member TangoRed's Avatar
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      08-28-2019 12:39 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by Crispyfritter View Post
      I'm wondering if AM could introduce an entry level Sports car. A real, honest to goodness British sports car that looks good and starts at $50k and has a sweet sounding V6/hybrid setup that sounds great and has some class.

      Chris
      That class of car is on life support. Probably not a profitable endeavor.

      Quote Originally Posted by downytide View Post
      The cheaper the sales price, the more money you need.

      To do that they'll probably have to use existing chassis design and drivetrain, essentially just re-body the car, the closest I think they can do is rebody the SLC/SLK, since that line is being retired soon so the tooling can be changed rather quickly, BUT, they probably need to sell at least 5000-10,000 units world wide a year to justify the design costs.
      And the SLC/SLK would be a poor starting point, compromised as it is. Personally I think Aston would be best served being bought by a luxury brand that lacks presence in the $100k+ arena. Like Toyota/Lexus or Hyundai/Kia.
      Quote Originally Posted by Doug Butabi View Post
      And on the tenth day of the two thousand fifteenth year, TCL finds out about rich people.

    17. Member freedomgli's Avatar
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      08-28-2019 12:46 PM #16
      I think that rear 3/4 view looks awesome. It's kind of like a mashup between a Tesla, a 2nd gen Porsche Cayenne and an Aston Martin Vantage. Unfortunately, it's way above my price range firmly in dream land. If I won the lottery, I could easily see myself with one of these instead of a Bentley Bentayga or Lamborghini Urus. It would pair nicely with my V12 Vantage and Vanquish S weekend toys.

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      08-28-2019 12:46 PM #17
      AM needs to be doing exactly what Ferrari, McLaren, and Lamborghini aren't: NA V12s + Manuals.

      Tough in today's world, but there has to be a workaround for emissions compliance.

      Quote Originally Posted by Crispyfritter View Post
      I'm wondering if AM could introduce an entry level Sports car. A real, honest to goodness British sports car that looks good and starts at $50k and has a sweet sounding V6/hybrid setup that sounds great and has some class.

      Chris
      Team up with Honda for the next S2000?
      Last edited by CostcoPizza; 08-28-2019 at 12:51 PM.

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      08-28-2019 02:25 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by Crispyfritter View Post
      I'm wondering if AM could introduce an entry level Sports car. A real, honest to goodness British sports car that looks good and starts at $50k and has a sweet sounding V6/hybrid setup that sounds great and has some class.

      Chris
      Sure they could... but it would bankrupt them. A partnership might make it more palatable but IMO there are probably too many sports cars on offer in the market, even in that $60-70K range (let's be honest about OTD pricing here)

    20. 08-28-2019 03:57 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by TangoRed View Post
      Porsche was on the upswing by then; the Boxster is what brought it out of dire, AM-like circumstances. The Cayenne just catapulted it into a very profitable brand. Further, as CTK mentioned, Porsche got to leverage VW for that project. AM is alone on this and it makes it even more precarious.
      Good points and if AM really wanted to go on the upswing, they’d lop $100k off their entire lineup and sales would pick up considerably. But they won’t.

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      08-28-2019 04:21 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by Rob View Post
      Good points and if AM really wanted to go on the upswing, they’d lop $100k off their entire lineup and sales would pick up considerably. But they won’t.
      They can't!

    22. 08-28-2019 04:24 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by CTK View Post
      Bentley/Rolls/Ferrari aren't in the existential predicament Aston is. Bentley is under a little pressure but they still have VWAG to leverage. AM is on an island
      Did you say existential predicament like climate change

    23. 08-28-2019 04:25 PM #22
      Why do they make these luxo suvs sorta bland, most narcissts want theyre "truck" as they call them to stand out

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      08-28-2019 04:52 PM #23
      Will it be on the Vantage platform, its own platform, or something else (e.g. MB GLC)?

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      08-28-2019 04:55 PM #24
      This brand is shot. Sad for loyalists who kept these collections for decades.

    26. Member TangoRed's Avatar
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      08-28-2019 05:39 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by masa8888 View Post
      Will it be on the Vantage platform, its own platform, or something else (e.g. MB GLC)?
      The DBX is spawned from the DB11's component set. Aston explored using a Mercedes platform but for whatever reason decided against it. I wonder why though...if Porsche could make Audi's MLB platform dance I feel like Aston could've done the same with Mercedes' MRA.
      Quote Originally Posted by Doug Butabi View Post
      And on the tenth day of the two thousand fifteenth year, TCL finds out about rich people.

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