Bond-mania gives Aston Martin a lift
By Liz Vaughan-Adams
22 April 2003
Such is the desirability of the Aston Martin brand that more than 1,000 people in the UK have put their names on a waiting list for the new AMV8 Vantage – even though it won't be produced until 2005.
Expected to go on sale at about £75,000, the car will be the cheapest brand-new Aston Martin money can buy and is key to the company's future.
By 2005, the manufacturer expects to be churning out about 5,000 cars a year and hopes the AMV8 Vantage will account for at least half that. "It's a very important car for us. It'll allow just a few more people to buy an Aston," Tim Watson, public affairs director, said.
Famous for its links with James Bond, Aston Martin's £160,000 Vanquish, driven by Bond in Die Another Day, has sold nearly 1,000 units since going into production in 2001. Demand is still so strong there is a waiting list of around a year.
But life has not always been quite so rosy. The Buckinghamshire-based company nearly went bust in the Seventies and had its worst-ever year in 1993 when it sold just 42 cars. It was saved by Ford, which bought 75 per cent of Aston Martin in 1987 and the balance seven years later, and which backed the DB7 – Aston Martin's most successful car, which has sold about 6,000 units to date.
Surprisingly, Aston Martin has only produced about 19,000 cars in total since it was founded in 1914. Despite being US-owned, all the cars are made in the UK. The DB7 is made in Oxfordshire while the Vanquish is made at the Newport Pagnell plant in Buckinghamshire.
Aston Martin wins a Queen's Award for international trade for the second time in its history. It sold about 1,500 cars in 2002 and expects to make a similar number this year. Around 35 per cent of the cars went to the US, 32 per cent to Europe and 30 per cent to the UK. "We are a good example, at this point in time, of a bit of good news within British industry," Mr Watson said.
My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.
My next Ford.....