Aston Martin Sees 25% Of Future Global Sales Coming From Asia
1 December 2011 - Automotive News
A quarter of global sales for British luxury carmaker Aston Martin could come from Asia within two years, nearly double the current share, thanks to robust demand in China, the company's director for the region, Matthew Bennett said.
China, which Aston Martin officially entered three years ago, has already become its largest and fastest growing market in Asia, Bennett, told reporters in Beijing on Tuesday.
In 2010, it delivered 110 cars in the country. The year-to-date tally is double and could hit 500 units in 2012, Bennett said.
"China is not only the biggest but the fastest growing by a long long way (in the region). In 18 months, we will see China and Asia Pacific as a whole really on a par with the other big three markets."
Asia now contributes 12-15 percent of Aston Martin's global sales, according to Bennett.
Top global marques, from Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz to BMW’s Rolls-Royce, have racked up impressive sales in China where growing ranks of rich consumers are fueling sales of luxury items from Gucci handbags to Rolex watches.
To help win over more customers in China, Aston Martin is introducing the V12 Zagato, which premiered at the Frankfurt auto show, with a price tag of roughly 9 million yuan (1.06 million euros), including import tariffs of more than 100 percent.
Many of its popular models, such as Rapide and V8 Vantage Roadster, are already available here.
Aston Martin CEO Ulrich Bez told Reuters in September that he wanted a diversified geographical reach, with a fifth of the sales in China, a fifth in the UK, a fifth in the rest of Europe and a fifth in North America.
Currently, Aston Martin has five outlets in China covering major cities and the surrounding areas. At least seven more will be added, bringing the total number to 12 outlets by the end of 2012, he said.
No fear of slowdown
In a recent East Asia and Pacific economic update, the World Bank said it expects regional growth to moderate from next year as overseas economies slow and Beijing steers the economy to rely less on investment and manufacturing.
Fears that China may be set for a sharp slowdown flared again last week after HSBC's flash PMI survey showed the factory sector shrank the most in 32 months in November on signs of domestic economic weakness.
Bennett said he was aware of the situation but remained optimistic about the potential of the world's largest auto market.
"We are still relatively new in China. We still see a very significant growth opportunity for us here," he said.
Other global luxury car makers, such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW have also announced investment and expansion schemes in China.
Ford sold Aston Martin for 479 million pounds (560 million euros) in March 2007 to a consortium led by David Richards - former Formula 1 Benetton and BAR racing boss -- as well as two Kuwaiti funds.