The chief executive of ailing luxury car manufacturer Aston Martin hopes next year’s James Bond movie will give the firm a financial boost.
Shortly after announcing the company had fallen to a £13.5m loss in the third quarter of the year, Andy Palmer said the series usually gives Aston Martin a lift in China, a key market where it has struggled in recent months.
The next Bond movie, the last featuring actor Daniel Craig, will be called No Time To Die, and is set for release in April. It will feature no less than four Aston Martins – DB5 and V8 Saloon, along with the new DBS Superleggera and Valhalla.
Palmer said: “A bond movie is always a boost to us. It very very clearly helps us in places like China and the US.
“One of the things we need to do is improve the familiarity and awareness in the brand.
“In particular, strange as it may seem, our Chinese colleagues are particularly pleased that our position in Bond is so strong.”
James Bond’s favourite car maker found little love from other buyers as it swung to a loss before tax of £13.5m in the three months to the end of September. That compared with a £3.1m profit this time last year.
It came amid a steep drop in demand for its least expensive sports car, the Vantage, which starts from £120,000. Mark Wilson, Aston’s CFO, said the car had suffered from a four per cent drop in demand in its segment, despite gaining market share against rivals such as the Porsche 911.
Palmer said the firm had cut its overheads from £345m to £300m this year, by decreasing its use of contract workers, cutting back on staff travel and closing several sites it had previously used for storing parts. He added that does not imply the firm has cut any jobs.
The car manufacturer, whose shares have fallen 77 per cent since its public market debut a year ago has pinned its hopes on an upcoming SUV model, the first of its kind, called the DBX. The launch is part of an ambitious plan to release seven cars inside seven years.
It has not officially been revealed yet; this will happen in two weeks time in China, in what appears to be a wider bid to increase visibility in the market. However, Aston has offered existing customers the chance to view it behind closed doors, and orders had been placed confidentially.
Palmer said he was “delighted with initial reception and the preorders that are coming out of that”.
However, he added that although the DBX was an important model for the firm, “it’s not binary”.
“Obviously we’ve built a brand new factory. We’re employing lots of people. At the moment we’re not getting any revenue out of that asset.
“It’s important that it starts to earn its keep throughout 2020.”