Aston Martin has lifted the bonnet on its long-awaited DBX sports utility vehicle (SUV), as the luxury car maker fights to get back on track after a massive devaluation in its market value after its 2018 stock market float.
The car, valued at £158,000 at list prices, is the company’s first foray into the SUV market, and spearheads a move towards attracting more women customers to a product predominantly bought by men.
Aston Martin set up a female advisory board in 2015, in a bid to better understand what women look for in a car, it said.
“Each button and dial has been carefully positioned following extensive testing from external counsel, including the brand’s female advisory board and multiple customer clinics with high net worth individuals of mixed demographic, ensuring the cabin develops a feeling of instant familiarity,” the firm said.
The model is widely regarded as a make-or-break moment for the manufacturer which, having already gone bust seven times in its 106-year history, is struggling again.
Aston Martin’s share price has fallen 80 per cent since its glitzy Initial Public Offering in October last year, amid a wider car industry slowdown that has significantly depressed sales.
The DBX enjoyed a joint Beijing and Los Angeles launch, as the manufacturer tries to expand its business in both the US and Chinese markets. This comes ahead of next year’s James Bond film, which is expected to give the firm a boost, given its longstanding association to the franchise.
Aston reported a loss of £92m for the first nine months of the year, but has poured money into a brand new factory in St Athan, south Wales, where the car will be built. Earlier this month, chief executive Andy Palmer told investors it was “important that [the DBX] starts to earn its keep throughout 2020”.
Research has found that growing demand for SUVs was the second largest contributor to global CO2 emissions between 2010 and 2018, and several cities across the globe are considering banning the vehicles.
The DBX, which can travel at 181mph, travels 19.7 miles per gallon of petrol, compared with an average of 51.7mph for new cars in the UK.
The first trial build of the DBX has been completed with production due in the second quarter of 2020 which the company hopes will contribute to a boost to its output, alongside sports cars made at its southern English Gaydon facility.
“I can’t emphasise enough how incredibly exciting and significant DBX is for Aston Martin,” said Andy Palmer, its chief executive.
“We have both delivered this model through our expertise, but also by garnering invaluable experience and knowledge from external counsel, including our female advisory board.
“This is a real landmark for this great British brand and I promise that DBX will reward all who experience it in their everyday lives.”
Shares fell a further three per cent this morning.