SECOND CENTURY PLAN: ASTON MARTIN TO LAUNCH 7 NEW MODELS IN 7 YEARS
【Summary】ASTON MARTIN TO LAUNCH 7 NEW MODELS IN 7 YEARS
You can tell Aston Martin boss Andy Palmer used to work for Carlos Ghosn. Ghosn, the man who made a success of a seemingly unlikely alliance between France's Renault and Japan's Nissan, is a man who loves a plan. The "Nissan Revival Plan," the "Nissan 180 Plan," and "Nissan Power 88" were all announced by Ghosn to explain to media and, more importantly, shareholders his strategic vision for the automaker.
Palmer, who joined Aston Martin in October 2014 after a 23-year career at Nissan, is clearly channeling his old boss when he talks of Aston's "Second Century Plan," a simple and compelling outline of how he intends to transform the storied British sports car maker, which has teetered on the edge of bankruptcy several times since its founding in 1913, into a genuine rival to Ferrari and Bentley.
The past couple of years have been about survival, Palmer says, of figuring out how to keep selling enough cars while the DB11 was being developed and how to keep persuading shareholders to invest in an expanded model lineup. Part of that survival strategy included announcing headline-grabbing halo cars such as the Aston Martin Vulcan and the AM-RB 001 hypercar being developed in conjunction with Adrian Newey and the Red Bull F1 operation.
But with DB11 about to hit Aston Martin showrooms, the focus is now on revamping and expanding the regular Aston Martin lineup. The DB11 is the first of seven new Astons Palmer plans to launch over the next seven years. What's more, he says, investors have already given Aston Martin the money to pay for the design and development of four of them.
The DB11 program accounts for a big chunk of that money, not the least because it provides much of the basic hardware for the other cars. Over the next two to three years the DB11 will be joined by a new Vanquish and a new Vantage, both of which will share its structural elements, powertrain hardware, and the Daimler electrical architecture. The Vantage, of course, will also get access to the 4.0-liter, twin-turbo AMG V-8 engine as part of the components deal with Daimler, which still owns a 5-percent share of Aston Martin.
That's the catch-up, core-building phase of the plan, says Palmer, who notes the DB9 hardware underpinning today's Aston Martin lineup is now more than 12 years old. What follows that is what he calls the expansion phase, fueled by the DBX crossover, which will be built in a new factory in Wales.
The production DBX, which will have a coupelike profile with four doors, unlike the concept revealed at the 2015 Geneva show, will likely be Aston Martin's first hybrid vehicle, with electric motors used to drive the front wheels. Palmer believes the DBX can do for Aston Martin what the Cayenne has done for Porsche—provide the cash flow to fund the design and development of new models. Projected sales volume for the DBX is 7,000 vehicles a year, a number equal to the proposed sales of all other Aston Martin models combined.
Palmer has three other additions to the Aston Martin lineup on his to-do list. Two are sedans that will be badged Lagonda. Palmer's not saying, but the success of the low-volume Lagonda Taraf suggests the range-topping version will be around the size of Maybach S600 with a smaller car slotting in underneath. Like the DBX, the Lagondas will likely have hybrid powertrains. "To me hybridization is as inevitable as death and taxes," Palmer says, "and it makes sense in the SUVs and sedans."
The final addition planned for the Aston Martin stable is a mid-engine sports car designed to take on the likes of Ferrari 488 and McLaren 675. The AM-RB 001 hypercar, Aston Martin's first ever mid-engine production car is, Palmer says, "the start of a bloodline." And Red Bull's Adrian Newey, who's heading the design of the AM-RB 001, has hinted he'd like to do a mainstream sports car: "I'd be interested [when AM-RB 001 is] done in developing beyond that into something that's slightly more mainstream that could be driven by more people."
resource from: motortrend
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