Currently reading: How vital is the Vanquish to Aston Martin's future?
Aston Martin is producing some excellent new product, but it faces a tough few years in the face of impressive sales from rivals, including Ferrari

The importance of the new Aston Martin Vanquish cannot be underestimated.

The Vanquish replaces the DBS, which carries a £60k premium over the DB9 and has sold in quantities of 600 to 800 units a year since launch in 2007. Within Aston, the DBS is regarded as a bigger success than the original Vanquish.

Crucially, the DBS’s healthy profit margin has contributed significantly to Aston’s survival since the 2008 crash, largely because its traditional customer base has proven more loyal.

In fact, DBS sales actually went up in 2008-2009 - the first full year of the crash - while sales of the rival Ferrari 599 GTB collapsed to half of pre-recession levels, according to figures from IHS Global Insight. “The DBS has proved resilient, but the overall picture at Aston is not so good,” says IHS analyst Colin Couchman.

Today, the unanswered question is whether the new Vanquish will repeat the success of the DBS over the next five to eight years, given the technical progress being made by rivals.

The Ferrari F12 has arrived with a stonking 730bhp and agile chassis, and competition from Mercedes’ SLS - which outsells the DBS nearly four to one - can’t be overlooked.

Undeterred, Aston is said to be eyeing Vanquish global sales of 1000 a year, but the Vanquish must fight on with a 10-year-old V12 and modified alloy platform. How it fares is likely to shape Aston’s future.

Compare the success of the DBS with the struggles of its stablemates, the Vantage and DB9. The sobering figure for the Vantage is a 62 per cent sales decline from its peak. For the DB9, the decline in sales is 71 per cent.

In 2007 the Vantage commanded about 3600 sales but has since declined inexorably to 1300 units.

Of course, the segment- defining Porsche 911 has suffered, too. But whereas the Vantage was once achieving 10 per cent of 911 sales, it is now worth just six.

And the consequence of the arrival in 2009 of the Ferrari California has been a dramatic slide in DB9 sales, which are now in the 1000-a- year bracket.

Ferrari’s healthy sales figures for its mid-engined F430 and 458 shine an even harsher light, tracking at about 3300 a year.

Against this background, Aston faces a tough task planning replacements for its core Vantage and DB9 models. A conservative view might predict only 2500 sales annually for these two-door models, a challengingly small number. Overall, Aston is running at about 4000 cars a year, down from 6500-plus in 2007.

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So what’s the future for Aston? It’s hard to see how the revenue from 4000 cars a year will be sufficient to self-fund a new alloy chassis platform plus a V8/V12 engine family and multiple body styles.

The day when Aston needs a technology partner - at least for an engine - seems to be approaching ever faster.

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Derek cb 22 February 2013

Aston Martin Vanquish

i've read the comments posted to date with interest. You would think Dr Bez had almost ruined the company and left it with a bleak future. It seems to me the contrary is nearer the mark. Read the man's cv pre Aston - how lucky me thinks where Aston to have him and he has done a great job in my view - I'm judging him as one CEO judging another which might be a different take to a wealthy enthusiast who may not have run a significant business. Anyway that said I am too an AM brand enthusiast.

The new Vanquish is absolutely stunning in the flesh and the carbon fibre body and revamped V12 are right up there in state of art tech.

i ordered my new Vanquish after a test drive of several exotics and believe me as an ex pilot the Vanquish is a precision machine of the first order.

 

What other company has Q personalisation and what a fabulous experience it is and Dr Bez called in to have a chat with me for 10 mins - just can't see that happening at Ferrari or Bugatti somehow.

And the icing on the cake - Aston have invited us down to Gaydon to install the wings and my 14 year old will credited with completing the final inspection on the plaque.

How fabulous is that for customer service and I lose not one iota of sight on how brill a car the Vanquish is.

Clearly I believe Aston have a very bright future and so do the new Italian investors.

Wouldn't it be nice if we Brits stopped slagging off our best and enjoyed a dose of positivity for a change. Fortunately for Aston there are others who value theForfar more than some of us appear to do

 

My rant over.

 

Oh my new Vanquish arrives early April - can't wait

 

 

TBC 4 November 2012

The future

With the exception of the One 77, every car that AM introduces is vital to its future, as investment costs, as small as they may be, have to be recouped in order for the next model to be developed. If the market picks up over the next 2-years, AM might be able to remain independent, however if it remains sluggish, either new money will be needed (and a lot of it) or, as mentioned by others, a mainstream manufacturer will have to be sought to fund development.

I'm not convinced that TATA would see AM as a good buy, based on the repositioning of Jaguar over the last couple of years, unless they do a VAG and simply clothe the same car in different dresses and badge the as Jag and AM. Mind you if Proton manages to dump Lotus they might be in the market for a bit of high-end window dressing........

 

pegon 3 November 2012

Hi Sable007, I understand

Hi Sable007,

I understand your concern, and share it as i really want to buy the new Vanquish. In real terms, Aston Martin's have allways been the gilded turds of the automotive world, the way you describe your DBS confirms this. But blaiming this on UB, is entirely unfair. To make the car as good as it looks, you ned a massive computer mainframe for design, houndreds of design engineers, and a large test and development department. No small car manufacturer in the world can fund this on their own, you need a large mass manufacturer to piggyback, as it is allready funding this. In short, Aston Martin, if it wants to survive, must become like Bentley in the way that everything that needs to work is German, and everything you can touch, see and feel is British.

i Might be buying the Bentley because of this.