British carmaker Aston Martin unveiled its first SUV, the DBX, on Wednesday in Beijing, also marking the company’s first global car premiere outside of Europe in 106 years. The new model was launched two days later at the Guangzhou auto show which runs until Dec 1.
“The Chinese market is by far the most open-minded market in the world, still discovering the value of different brands. And therefore, for the SUV, we think it as the most important market,” said Andy Palmer, president and CEO of Aston Martin, China Daily reported.
“Our commitment to China is absolute,” said Palmer, adding that the DBX was created with Chinese customers’ preferences in mind.
Without defining itself as a sports car maker, Aston Martin said that it is a company that tries to make the most beautiful cars, and its choice of making an SUV is due to SUVs being the most popular body type worldwide.
“It (the DBX) is a pretty car. One would hope that we find ways of reaching young and old.
“I’m hopeful that we’ll reach the traditionalists who probably come from a sports car, but probably more like 70 percent of the clients will be new to the brand,” Palmer said.
When it comes to its development in the Chinese market, the CEO said, “We want to grow in China, but we’re not looking to sell hundreds of thousands of cars.”
The new SUV is the result of five years of effort from Aston Martin.
“We have basically built our infrastructure in China over the last five years on the basis of there’s an SUV coming,” Palmer said.
The company is expected to have some 30 showrooms in China by the end of 2021.
“Each one of those (showrooms that have been built) have been specified in a way that basically assumes that we can show off our DBX model,” Palmer noted.
According to Forbes, the DBX is powered by a 4-litre, twin-turbocharged V-8 engine also used in the DB11 and Vantage sportscars. The DBX engine produces 550 hp which propels it from 0 to 60 mph in just over 4 seconds and on to a top speed of 181 mph. There is a 9-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive.
The DBX costs £158,000 in the U.K., €193,500 in Germany, both after tax, and $189,900 in the US before tax. First deliveries are scheduled to begin in the 2nd quarter of 2020.
To say that the DBX is crucial to the ailing company’s future, is an understatement.
Aston Martin made a loss in the 3rd quarter of £13.5 million (US$17.3 million) compared with a profit of £3.1 million (US$4 million) in the same period last year. For the first 9 months of 2019 pre-tax losses hit £92.3 million (US$118 million) compared with a £23.9 million (US$30.6 million).
Aston Martin has tried to cut costs and reduced investment this year to £300 million (US$384 million) from £345 million last year (US$442 million).
Analysts say unless the DBX is a success the future of Aston Martin is in doubt. And it needs to be an exceptional vehicle to compete at the high end of the SUV market which already includes the Bentley Bentayga, Rolls Royce Cullinan, Lamborghini Urus, and soon the Ferrari Purosangue.
Meanwhile, Aston Martin has stepped up its efforts to solidify its collaboration with Chinese companies and universities.
The brand’s cooperation with Shanghai’s Tongji University has provided Aston Martin with new designs and concepts that have been fed directly into its showrooms.