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Australian dealers back Aston shuffle
SUV wanted as Australian dealers invest in Aston Martin expansion
18 Jun 2016
ASTON Martin’s five-year pledge to introduce seven new models has been backed by Australian dealerships investing heavily in an expansion and overhaul of existing premises.
The first step of the future product plan, dubbed Second Century by then-newly appointed Aston Martin chief executive officer Andy Palmer late last year, was the DB11 that landed in Australia this week priced from $428,032 plus on-road costs.
The DB11 platform and powertrain will help spawn seven new models, but the debut of this DB9 replacement – Aston Martin’s first new model since the 2010 four-door Rapide – would start to boost local sales, according to Aston Martin Australia and New Zealand regional manager Kevin Wall.
“If I’m sitting here in 12 months time and talking similar units for 2017 I won’t be doing my job,” Mr Wall told GoAuto at the local reveal of the Aston Martin DB11 in Sydney this week.
“We did around 130 units last year in Australia (and) we will probably do a similar figure this year. We are in transition mode. DB9 is out (of production) so we’re fighting with one hand behind our back. We will maintain similar share and similar volume this year.”
Aston Martin sales in Australia have tracked steadily over the past decade, with all but one year in that timeframe (a low of 74 units in 2009) recording sales volume between 94 (2012) and 160 (2007) units. However, asked whether the DB11 could drive substantial growth for the brand, Mr Wall replied: “Yes.”
He further claimed that growth for the brand in the Asia Pacific region was helping Australia secure greater production numbers, helpfully coinciding with the introduction of new models such as the DB11.
“We should be successful if only based upon the fact that the whole Asia Pacific region is becoming incredibly successful, maybe (it’s) overdue but it’s happening (and) we in Australia will benefit from a larger percentage of production coming into this part of the world.”
Mr Wall added that Aston Martin “could triple” Australian volume and it still would not require additional dealerships beyond its five facilities nationwide, but rather its existing dealers would upgrade their premises in preparation a product “renaissance” and volume growth.
“If we were sitting here and we had our dealer principals here, they would be saying ‘yes we are investing in this brand’” Mr Wall said.
“Because while it (Aston Martin) is a wonderful brand it hasn’t gone through that beautiful renaissance period that Porsche and Maserati are going through, Ferrari have always been there I suspect, but the renaissance is about to come.”
He listed Zagame Automotive in Melbourne, owned by Bobby Zagame, and Barbagallo Motors in Perth, as two dealerships investing heavily in transforming their premises, while Trivett Aston Martin in Sydney had recently completed refurbishments.
“These are existing dealers with new facilities,” Mr Wall continued.
“It (dealership numbers) doesn’t need to grow. We’ve got such a powerful dealer network so well resourced that I anticipate we could triple volume and we wouldn’t be looking for anything else. We have fine coverage in this market.”
He did, however, admit that new products beyond the DB11, particularly the forthcoming SUV, were never close enough for its dealerships. The DBX crossover concept, shown at the 2015 Geneva motor show, will become Aston Martin’s SUV rival to the Bentley Bentayga, Porsche Cayenne and forthcoming Lamborghini Urus, but a timeframe has not yet been set for its arrival.
“It is coming, it’s a signed-off program,” Mr Wall said of the production version of the DBX.
“It’s not close enough for us or our dealer network, of course, it never is, but it’s in the train and undoubtedly it’s such a major reason why our dealers are investing heavily in the brand right now. Bring it on.”
It is believed that beyond the DB11 and production DBX SUV the Aston Martin Lagonda super sedan would be included as part of the company’s Second Century plan, as well as replacements for the Vantage and Rapide.
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