Aston Martin roars back into profit as DB11 revs up sales
Sales rise by 75% in first quarter, helping luxury carmaker’s efforts to recover from six years of losses.
Demand for Aston Martin’s first all-new model for a decade – the flagship DB11 coupe – helped the luxury carmaker to double revenues in the first quarter, as it seeks to recover from six years of losses. The DB11, the first model Aston Martin has launched under a technology partnership with Daimler, accounted for the majority of 1,203 vehicles sold during the period. Its popularity boosted car sales by 75%, doubled revenues to £188m and turned the £30m loss suffered in the first quarter of last year into a £5.9m profit before tax. The carmaker, based in Gaydon, Warwickshire, also raised annual forecasts, predicting an operating profit of £170m in 2017 and a 30% increase in sales to nearly 4,800 cars.
“The car that has really kickstarted the turnaround is the DB11,” said the chief financial officer, Mark Wilson. “That car itself has a waiting list that takes you through this year. You’re hard-pressed to find a DB11 V12 anywhere in the globe that you can lay your hands on.”
The company’s president and chief executive, Andy Palmer, said the turnaround signalled a strong start to the group’s “Second Century” plan, including new Vantage and Vanquish sports cars in the next two years. They will be followed in 2019 by the DBX, a “crossover” model more akin to a sports utility vehicle (SUV), to be built at a new £200m plant in south Wales. The new models are designed to revive the fortunes of perhaps the UK’s most fabled car, famously driven by several iterations of James Bond. The marque was also driven by former 007 Sir Roger Moore, who died earlier this week, though he only took the wheel of an Aston Martin in The Persuaders! and never as Bond.
The turnaround plan follows a difficult period for the company, which announced plans to lay off 300 people in 2015, as it slumped to a pre-tax loss of £71.8m. It has yet to return to profit after six years of losses, but has refinanced with a £550m loan that Wilson said reduces the cost of its debt by a third.