Currently reading: The car industry now: Aston Martin's future
Changes at the top and the promise of a volume-selling SUV aim to transform Aston's fortunes

Even before the pandemic, beleaguered Aston Martin was facing a crucial year, with its future essentially staked on one big bet: the DBX.

When Aston was floated in 2018, it was valued at £4.3 billion, with an initial share price of £19. On 13 May, when it announced a £118.9 million pre-tax loss in the first quarter of 2020 due to the pandemic, those shares hit a low of 35.4p.

Aston recently announced plans to cut up to 500 jobs, as part of a major cost saving programme tied to reducing production levels of its sports car lines.

It’s a bleak picture, but there is hope: billionaire Lawrence Stroll led investment worth more than £500m in the firm, becoming its new chairman. And that deal – reworked after Covid-19 caused an earlier dip in the share price – ensures Aston Martin has the money needed to bring the DBX to production at its new factory in St Athan, Wales. With the firm reducing sports car output, the DBX will become even more crucial as the brand's volume seller, and the post lockdown return to production is clearly focused on ensuring the SUV goes on sale on time.

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Early demand suggests Aston can sell its first SUV in the volumes and at the margins needed to boost profits and fuel investment in its sports cars. Losing weeks of production will have hurt, but Aston insists deliveries are broadly on track.

Once they start, it must ensure a steady stream of buyers, boosting turnover – which should calm the fears of those investors. It all rests on the DBX.

Will new management make all the difference?

Beyond new metal, Aston Martin has also snapped up current Mercedes-AMG chief Tobias Moers to replace Andy Palmer as chief executive officer. Moers saw a major expansion at the Affalterbach firm since taking over the top role in 2013, with sales rising from around 70,000 to 132,000 in 2019. It's this experience that Lawrence Stroll says will be crucial to reviving Aston's fortunes.

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Given Stroll has already outlined changes to the brand's "second century" plan such as delaying the relaunch of the Lagonda brand, it remains to be seen what further changes Moers might make once he takes office in August. The upcoming line-up of mid-engined models powered by V6 hybrid powertrains seems unlikely to change, with the firm instead making fewer cars while increasing exclusivity.

Can the St Athan plant be opened and run successfully?

The future of Aston Martin depends entirely on profits made from the DBX. St Athan, as home of the SUV, must get up and running smoothly if the company is to survive.


It has been a tumultuous time for Aston: having announced its life-saving strategy to focus on the DBX and delay its plans for electrification and relaunching of the Lagonda brand, along came the coronavirus. However, against that backdrop, billionaire Stroll completed his purchase of a 25% stake, which should significantly bolster the firm’s chances.

According to Aston, St Athan was already “running successfully” before manufacturing had to be suspended and is now back “on track to commence customer deliveries in summer”. The firm remains confident that it will hit its stated production goal of 5000 DBXs annually from 2021.


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CharlieBrown 9 June 2020

5000 DBX’s

5000 DBX's - that's a lot of Aston Martins - wow