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Eyes on 911: As its least expensive model ever, the V8 Vantage will be part of the largest Aston Martin range ever made available.

Aston Martin boss hits out at Porsche, and his critics, at local V8 Vantage launch

26 Oct 2005

"TODAY is the start of Aston Martin’s life in Australia."These are the words of its company’s chairman and chief executive officer, Dr Ulrich Bez, who was in Sydney for the Australian debut of the V8 Vantage at the Australian International Motor Show.

"We will now be represented in the same way to you and to our customers in Australia as we are in England, Germany and America," he said.

"The real advantage of launching now ... is that we now have a wide range of cars."Priced from $235,000 and competing head-on against the Porsche 911, the V8 Vantage is the Ford-owned British marque’s first foray into relative affordability.

It joins the $338,000 DB9 V12 and $575,000 Vanquish in the local line-up – the biggest range the company has had in its 90-year history.

Around 60 cars will be sold in Australia by the end of this year. In 2006, Aston Martin hopes to increase this to between 120 and 140 units.

Ultimately, Aston Martin hopes to sell up to 6500 cars worldwide, with each dealer worldwide shifting about 40 per year. This is up considerably from the 800 cars that Aston Martin sold in 2000.

Since then, the worldwide dealer count has almost doubled to 120.

Dealerships are also opening in "strategic hot spots" such as the Gold Coast, Long Island, Munich and Rome.

"We have a good future," Dr Bez said. "We have an order bank (well into) 2006 so we can really plan and work on the brand, the image and the future products."Asked if such volumes would threaten Aston Martin’s exclusivity, Dr Bez responded: "Exclusivity needs visibility. Without it, nobody would even know you exist.

"Luxury needs exclusivity – and that includes an exclusive brand, exclusive styling and exclusive volume ... this is something a 911 doesn’t have any more."Dr Bez said he was pleased the current line-up now covered a wider range of age demographics.

"We have a range that now suits a 25-year-old in the same way as it could suit an 80-year-old," he said. "It’s hard to see many young people going for a Vanquish ... as it is a very grown-up, a very strong car.

"And the DB9 is a very elegant, very mature car ... but it is more suited to people older than 30. Now I go to dealer presentations and openings and I see that 30 per cent of people there are (aged under) 30.""Owning and driving an Aston Martin is about expressing your mindset, your feelings, it is about expressing yourself," he said.

On the subject of recent criticism regarding the visual similarities between the Vanquish, DB9 and V8, Dr Bez is blunt: "I am not interested in selling to people who cannot differentiate between them."

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