Aston Martin’s upcoming six-cylinder mild-hybrid version of the Aston Martin DBX SUV will be sold in China only, the company has said.
The car will be unveiled at the Guangzhou motor show, which starts on 19 November, CEO Tobias Moers said in a conference call with analysts last week.
The DBX is currently sold with a 542bhp twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 supplied by Mercedes-AMG but Chinese buyers are hit hard on taxation for buying larger-displacement engines. The DBX currently attracts an import tax of 25%, which will fall to 12% with the mild hybrid.
“A mild-hybrid in-line six perfectly fits the expectation of our customers in China,” Moers said.
Aston Martin has “no plans” to sell the model outside of China, a spokesman confirmed.
China is now Aston Martin’s second largest market, behind North America, after the DBX widened the brand’s appeal beyond sports cars, which are less popular there.
For all markets, Aston Martin will add another version of the DBX in spring next year, Moers said. He hinted that this will be a higher-performance variant. An S version could use the V8 producing 630bhp as used by AMG’s GT 63 S super-saloon. Less likely is that Aston will shoehorn in its own V12.
The company has also confirmed a plug-in hybrid version of the DBX is planned as part of a wider range of improvements for the model. “That’s more or less linked now to the facelift of the DBX,” Moers said. He added that the facelift is planned for 2024.
Moers said Aston Martin wouldn’t suffer in the medium term from not having a plug-in hybrid version, despite rival Bentley’s move to offer a PHEV drivetrain for the Bentley Bentayga. “Do we lose momentum on DBX by not having a plug-in hybrid? No. This is where we’re really confident,” he told investors on the call. “We know who the market leader is: Lamborghini Urus is the market leader in some areas without any hybrid.”
Aston expects half of its 6000 predicted sales in 2021 to come from the DBX, which is built in its St Athan, South Wales plant.