Business

Aston Martin targets female buyers

Aston Martin Vulcan Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The company unveiled its long-awaited Vulcan in Geneva

Aston Martin plans to broaden its range of cars to attract more female buyers as well as younger drivers.

New sportscars, a four-seater and a small SUV are in the pipeline as the UK company tries to reverse falling sales in the face of stiff competition from larger premium carmakers.

"The brand has to be relevant," chief executive Andy Palmer told a press conference at the Geneva Motor Show.

Aston Martin sales have fallen to about 4,000 from 7,300 in under a decade.

"Aston Martin must be less dependent on a narrow portfolio and one type of customer," Mr Palmer said.

The company's cars may be synonymous with James Bond, but the brand is a favourite among middle-aged sportscar enthusiasts.

Mr Palmer, recruited last year from Nissan to draw up a new strategy for loss-making Aston Martin, said he wants to make the company "relevant to a customer who would never before have considered buying an Aston Martin".

'Charlotte'

The investment in new vehicles would be the largest in the carmaker's 102-year history, he said, although no details have been released.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The DBX will be the carmaker's first all-electric, four-wheel drive vehicle

Mr Palmer's plans are ambitious, as he hopes to take sales of the core sportscar models back up to about 7,000. However, he said sales would be capped at this level to retain Aston Martin's exclusivity.

Aston Martin underlined its new strategy by unveiling its DBX concept car. It would be the first all-electric, four-wheel drive Aston Martin.

Mr Palmer said that when Aston's design team set to work on the new DBX they had in mind a customer who was a young lady, American - and rich. What's more, the designers dubbed this fictitious customer "Charlotte".

"She's an attractive lady, cool, in her 30s," Mr Palmer said.

It meant that the interior and ergonomics of the new car had to be slightly different than if the designers were targeting a man. "Of course, we will see a lot of guys buying the car as well. But the DBX is about reaching a new market."

The carmaker also showcased its long-awaited Vulcan, a racetrack-only car that will cost more than £1.5m. Mr Palmer said only 24 Vulcans would be made.

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