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Forget Sports Cars, SUVs Set to Dominate Super-Premium Luxury Market

Utility vehicles likely to be best-sellers for brands like Aston Martin, Bentley, Lamborghini, even Rolls-Royce.

by on Aug.24, 2016

Lamborghini first revealed the Urus SUV concept at the 2012 Beijing Motor Show.

They’re both known for their high-performance sports cars, but when Aston Martin and Lamborghini launch two of their most critical models ever, both in 2019, the focus of the two brands will shift to sport-utility vehicles.

If all goes according to plan, those two models, the Aston Martin DBX and the production version of the Lamborghini Urus concept, will generate at least 50% or more of their sales. But that’s far from precedent setting. Best known for sports cars like the 911 and the Boxster, it’s the Cayenne and Macan SUVs that already generate the biggest sales numbers for Porsche.

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Super-premium utility vehicles are “going to be the hottest segment in the luxury market,” said Simon Sproule, the chief marketing officer for Aston. “As with the mainstream market, that’s what people want to drive.”

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Zagato Volante Just a First Step for Aston Martin

British marque planning ambitious mix of sports cars, crossovers, EVs and more.

by on Aug.23, 2016

The $745,000 Aston Martin Zagato Volante will be one of a steady stream of specialty models.

It didn’t take long for Aston Martin to sell out the limited edited Vanquish coupe it revealed earlier this year, and despite – or perhaps because of – its $745,000 price tag, the British maker is hoping for a similar response to the Vanquish Zagato Volante that made its debut over the weekend.

The 592-horsepower convertible is the latest in a string of new models and variants from the long-struggling British maker best known for its long, supporting role in the 007 film series. Flush with new cash, its new management team has outlined an aggressive strategy that calls for a major expansion of the Aston Martin product portfolio which, by decade’s end, will include an all-new mix of sports cars, limited-edition exotics, and even a crossover and a battery-electric vehicle.

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“The plan is to replace all our existing cars moving onto a line-up that is all-new,” said Simon Sproule, Aston Martin’s chief marketing officer.

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Aston Martin Turns to Zagato for New Vanquish Concept Coupe

The shape of things to come?

by on May.20, 2016

The new Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Concept coupe is the marque's latest cutting-edge concept.

Britain’s luxury carmaker Aston Martin is just coming out of a long sleep, with a pocketful of new capital helping it set in motion the most aggressive product roll-out in its 103-year history.

And we’re getting a peak at what’s coming with a first look at the new Vanquish Zagato concept coupe. As the name suggests, Aston has turned to Italian design house Zagato for the show car making its official debut this weekend at the exclusive Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on the shores of Lake Como this weekend.

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“We pride ourselves on our strong partnership and the creation of the Vanquish Zagato Concept was a true shared experience,” Zagato’s CEO, Andrea Zagato, said in a statment. “It represents the essence of an important design relationship that dates back over 50 years.” (more…)

Aston Martin DB11 – “Most Important Car” in Marque’s 103-Year History

A little bit of Bond, James Bond?

by on Mar.01, 2016

The new Aston Martin DB11 delivers a 600-hp, 200 mph punch.

Long the favorite of cinema super-spy James Bond, Aston Martin stirred things up when it handed Agent 007 the keys to the new DB10 for his latest film, Spectre – but more than a few fans were left shaken when the British marque announced there were no production plans for the striking supercar.

Not to worry. The new Aston Martin DB11 unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show today should go down as smoothly as a good martini – while offering all the curves and sex appeal of the best “Bond Girls.”

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Meanwhile, there’s plenty of firepower under the hood. No, not the pop-up rockets or machine guns Bond has deployed over the years, but a 5.2-liter biturbo V-12 capable of propelling spy or average guy to 200 miles per hour, Aston claims.

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Bond’s Aston Martin DB10 Sells for $3.48 Mil

One of 10 used in ‘Spectre’ filming.

by on Feb.19, 2016

One of the two Aston Martin DB10s used in the filming of the James Bond movie, "Spectre," and signed by Daniel Craig, sold for $3.48 million at a charity auction.

A fan of James Bond or Aston Martin must have shaken, not stirred, their couch cushions to dig out all of their extra money, pennies even, to buy one of the DB10s in the new Bond adventure “Spectre.”

The new Aston was one of 10 used in the filming of the latest installment of everyone’s favorite British spy and raised $3.48 million at a charity auction in London.

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Bidding was spirited for the car, which was one of just two unmodified vehicles, used in the filming, and as an added bonus: it was signed by the current Bond: Daniel Craig. (more…)

Aston Turns to Chinese Partner to Develop Electric Rapide

Project could also be used by new Faraday Future start-up.

by on Feb.17, 2016

Aston wants to plug you into a battery-powered version of the Rapide.

Pushing ahead on the development of its first battery-electric sports car, Aston Martin will partner up with Chinese consumer electronics firm LeEco.

The two hope to have their first vehicle, based on Aston Martin’s Rapide S model, in production by 2018. But the venture could also tie up with another aspiring electric vehicle manufacturer, Faraday Future, Aston CEO Andy Palmer said during a news conference in Frankfurt, Germany.

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Tying up with LeEco “brings Aston Martin’s electric car project forward,” said Palmer, who joined the British sports car company in 2014 after serving as global product planning chief for Nissan Motor Co. – where he also oversaw the Japanese maker’s electrification efforts.

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Henrik Fisker Files $100 Mil lawsuit Against Aston Martin

Danish designer alleges extortion.

by on Jan.04, 2016

A sketch of the Fisker Force 1.

Danish designer and entrepreneur Henrik Fisker has filed a $100 million lawsuit against his former employer, the British automaker Aston Martin, alleging “civil extortion.”

The suit, filed in federal court in Central California, centers around the Force 1 sports car Fisker is planning to reveal next week at the 2016 North American International Auto Show. It claims that Aston has taken steps to block the debut of the car or make changes before its launch.

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“This is a classic case of David vs. Goliath,” said Fisker. “Aston Martin is trying to intimidate me to prop up their own flailing company and to mask their financial and product deficiencies.  I refuse to be intimidated and that is the reason for today’s filing.”

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Aston Martin Looking for New Plant Site

U.S., Britain, Middle East among top options.

by on Dec.10, 2015

The concept version of the Aston Martin DBX. The production model will be a 4-door.

As it moves forward with plans to launch its first-ever sport-utility vehicle, Aston Martin is reportedly looking at a number of different options for a new assembly plant, including at least one site in the United States, as well as one in the Mideast.

Unveiled in concept form at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, the production version of the Aston Martin DBX is expected to become one of the British maker’s most important models ever, at least from a volume standpoint. It will go up against a fast-growing assortment of luxury SUVs, ranging from the new Bentley Bentayga to the Lamborghini Urus.

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“The new factory is intended to give us the capacity to build the DBX crossover, which comes around the turn of the decade,” Simon Sproule, Aston’s global marketing chief, tells TheDetroitBureau.com. “At present, (we are) aiming to confirm the site in the coming few weeks – either side of the New Year. Sites are still under review but do include U.S., UK and locations ‘to the east of the UK’”

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Aston Martin Goes Electric

Sports carmaker reveals RapidE battery concept for British royalty and Chinese leader.

by on Oct.22, 2015

Aston hopes to bring a production version of the RapidE battery car to market as early as 2017.

At first glance, you might mistake it for an “every day” Aston Martin Rapide S, if one could apply such a term to a $200,000 sports car capable of launching from 0 to 60 in barely 4 seconds.

But this was no ordinary Aston rolled out for a special tour given an entourage of British royalty, Chinese President Xi Jinping along for the trip. The first hint? A distinct lack of that guttural roar one expects from an exotic supercar. In this case, it was more like a mechanical purr.

A closer look at the badge on the concept vehicle offered a hint of the key difference, rather than using a gas-powered engine to pump out 552 horsepower, the Aston Martin RapidE prototype relies on a new all-electric drivetrain.

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Aston Electrified; British Maker Charges up Product Plans

Seven products planned, including battery version of DBX SUV.

by on Aug.19, 2015

Aston will add a second pair of doors to the production version of the DBX crossover.

Little Aston Martin has some big plans. With a flood of new cash from key investors, new CEO Andy Palmer says the British maker will soon have its largest line-up of products ever, a mix that will include traditional Aston sports cars, big sedans, even a battery-electric version of the DBX sport-utility vehicle concept unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show last March.

The product blitz is part of a broader effort to fix a business model that “is broken,” said Palmer, who joined Aston last autumn after a long career at Nissan capped as the Japanese maker’s global product chief.

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“We’ve been beating this dead horse for a long time,” Palmer told TheDetroitBureau.com during an interview in California, where he had come for the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. As a result, it has suffered seven bankruptcies over the last 102 years, along with several “near misses.”

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