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Aston Martin secures extra DBX supplies
Strong local demand for Aston SUV sees first lot sold out, extra supplies on way
25 Feb 2020
By TERRY MARTIN
ASTON Martin’s Australasian division has secured extra supplies of its first SUV – the $357,000 DBX – for the Australian and New Zealand markets after selling out of its opening year’s allocation well in advance of first deliveries arriving in May.
Speaking to GoAuto at the British sports-luxury brand’s showroom in Melbourne, where an early prototype build of the DBX is now on display, Aston Martin Australia/NZ regional manager Kevin Wall said he managed to secure the small extra production allocation during a visit to the company’s new factory in St Athan, Wales, earlier this month.
Mr Wall would not specify numbers, but said orders placed today would require a 10-month wait, with December earmarked as the arrival month for the additional units.
Elaborating on the DBX supply situation, Mr Wall said: “It’s a competitive number.
“We don’t have a final production schedule from the factory, so please appreciate that it’s a brand-new factory, there is absolutely no rush from Aston Martin’s side to put numbers down a new factory line with new facilities.
“I know it sounds like a cliche, and excuse me, but quality is paramount because we can’t muck this one up, so we’ll put vehicles down the line as well as the guys and girls can produce them to a quality standard and that will determine supply.”
The St Athan plant goes into full production during the second quarter and has a maximum annual capacity of 5000 units. Aston Martin’s stated target is 4000 units in 2021.
The plant was also established to build all-new all-electric models for the reborn Lagonda brand, starting with a DBX-based SUV from 2022, however those plans were recently put on hold as the company re-evaluates its ‘Second Century Plan’ in the wake of financial difficulties and a fresh injection of capital from investors.
Mr Wall said 1800 orders for DBX had been received worldwide as at the end of last year, making this the most successful pre-launch in the brand’s history, and agreed that DBX production might now free up with the move to shelve Lagonda.
Aston has enjoyed strong early demand from customers in this region, with orders placed last year ahead of the DBX’s unveiling in China in December and more signing up as the DBX has landed here for showing at the Bathurst 12 Hour last month and with a presence now in Melbourne, where a customer event for about 80 VIPs was held last week.
Mr Wall said 60 per cent of deposits for the DBX were from buyers who were new to Aston Martin, while also noting about three-quarters of its existing customer base are SUV owners.
“That is significant for us,” he said. “Part of the objective of this car is to conquer new ground and introduce new people to the franchise.
“It’s interesting that our own internal research shows that 73 per cent of our existing owners currently have an SUV in the garage.
“So it’s an interesting time for us, and in many ways a happy hunting ground for us.”
Asked about the longer-term prospects of DBX, Mr Wall said he “absolutely” had every confidence that demand would continue once the rush of first orders was over.
“Only time will tell and I don’t have a crystal ball, do I?” he said.
“I can only talk (about) our planning. But 60 per cent new to the brand at this stage is higher than we had planned. We think we can still go a little bit further than that, actually – 70 per cent would be nice – but time will tell.”
While SUV ownership among existing Aston customers is an obvious area of opportunity, Mr Wall said “there is a happy band of Rapide owners in the Australian market, four-door Aston Martin owners, and they particularly have shown great interest in this vehicle”.
“It (DBX) is a reason to buy another four-door Aston Martin,” he said.
Mr Wall said the production version of the DBX had come a long way since Aston signalled its intent to produce an SUV with the 2015 concept carrying the same name.
“Back in those days, Bentley did not have their entrant (Bentayga), Lamborghini (did not) have their entrant (Urus), and in many ways it was totally virgin territory for car-makers in this market segment,” he said.
“Plant yourself forward five years and we’ve now got DBX … (and) I guess in many ways we’ve been late to the party, which is a positive and a negative.”
Mr Wall said Aston’s research team out of Gaydon, England, conducted a lot of research with customer focus groups in the United States, Europe and, notably, Australia, which was incorporated into the production version to meet the design brief that blended the brand’s unique “character, feel and look” with GT/sportscar driving characteristics and practical elements required of an SUV.
As GoAuto has reported, the DBX is launching with a Mercedes-AMG-sourced 405kW/700Nm 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged petrol V8 that drives through a nine-speed torque-converter automatic transmission and permanent four-wheel-drive system.
Aston claims the five-seat super-luxury all-terrain wagon, which is built on an all-new platform, can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds, on its way to a maximum speed of 291km/h.
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