Aston Martin, carmaker to James Bond, took a first step into a potentially lucrative market on Wednesday November 20th, unveiling a new sport utility vehicle (SUV) with characteristics aimed at female customers, Reuters reports.
The firm chose to launch its SUV, called the DBX, in Beijing, as half of its customers in China are female, compared to elsewhere in the world, where only 10% of buyers of its top-of-the-range sports cars are women.
"Aston is cool but if you can make it cool amongst both male and female, that makes it very, very powerful," said Andy Palmer, Aston Martin CEO.
After a difficult year for the automotive industry generally – and for Aston in particular – the company is trying hard to turn around its performance and winning new customers will be key to its success. China, however, remains a difficult market, as the trade war with the US has curtailed the buying habits of its newly enriched business classes.
Aston Martin is coming at this challenge from a new angle. The profile of its target customer for the DBX is a 40-something West Coast entrepreneur with children, called "Charlotte".
The firm used an all-female advisory body to help design many of the new vehicle’s features, which include greater leg room and a smaller reach to the controls, Palmer said.
"We had in mind this car must fit female customers’ needs," Palmer added.
The company hopes to boost its current annual sales of around 6,000 sports cars this year with up to 5,000 SUVs, which will start to come off the production line next year at a new factory in Wales.
By switching its focus to "Charlotte" for this model, the central England-based company is gambling that its new DBX, priced at £158,000 ($204,000) in the UK, will boost its fortunes.
The 106-year-old carmaker has gone bankrupt seven times in its history. Since listing on the London Stock Exchange in October 2018, its share price has plunged by around 75%. So far this year, it is making a loss. The DBX, it hopes, will help dig itself out of this financial black hole.