Aston Martin gears up for DBX launch as profits reverse

The maker of James Bonds car of choice is behind models such as this DB11 AMR grand tourer. Picture: Scott Reid
The maker of James Bonds car of choice is behind models such as this DB11 AMR grand tourer. Picture: Scott Reid
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Aston Martin has tumbled to a £92.3 million pre-tax loss over the past three quarters as sales volumes slid on “tough trading conditions” in the UK and Europe.

The luxury sports car maker swung to the loss for the nine months to September from a £23.9m pre-tax profit in the same period last year as its recent sales downturn continued.

Boss Andy Palmer said the firm remained pleased with the sales performance of the DB11. Picture: Scott Reid

Boss Andy Palmer said the firm remained pleased with the sales performance of the DB11. Picture: Scott Reid

Revenues and wholesale volumes for the Aston Martin Lagonda group both saw double-digit declines in the third quarter. Meanwhile, total revenues fell 7 per cent to £657.2m for the year-to-date, after sales in the third quarter reversed 11 per cent to £250.1m.

Andy Palmer, president and group chief executive, said: "Tough trading conditions, particularly in the UK and Europe, persist and whilst retail sales have grown 13 per cent year-to-date, wholesale volumes remain under pressure.

"We remain pleased with the performance of DB11 and DBS Superleggera, however, the segment of the market in which Vantage competes is declining, and notwithstanding a growing market-share, Vantage demand remains weaker than our original plans.

"As a consequence, total wholesale volumes are down year-on-year as we balance growth, brand positioning and dealer inventories. Additionally, we are taking actions to control our costs through an efficiency programme."

He added: "DBX development is progressing well, with the global launch in Beijing on 20 November. The first production trial build has been completed, and St Athan commissioned, with start of production due in Q2 2020 as planned."

The firm is likely to get a lift when sales begin for the new DBX model, an SUV that is being manufactured at a new facility in South Wales.

Despite news of the loss, shares in the company rebounded after a recent downturn, rising 7 per cent in early trading on Thursday.

Reaction

Neil Wilson, chief market analyst for Markets.com, said: "Aston Martin has been the butt of a few bond-themed barbs after securing $150m in senior secured bonds at a chunky 12 per cent earlier this year.

"But it will be hoping a little bit of Bond stardust will rub off on the brand with four Astons going to feature in the next 007 flick. It’s a good chance to showcase the new DBS Superleggera and Valhalla. It needs all the help it can get.

"DBX development is ‘progressing well’, management say, with the global launch in Beijing on 20 November. Vantage AMR and Roadster production are also on track. Deliveries of DBS Superleggera Volante commenced in Q3 and Vantage AMR deliveries start in Q4. Vantage Roadster deliveries start in spring 2020."

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