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Old 06-17-2004, 14:02   #1 (permalink)
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USA:Aston Martin's new coupe a sellout

Aston Martin's new coupe a sellout

by Jim Mateja
Copyright © 2004, Chicago Tribune

05 AM DB9

photo by AutoWeek

AM V8

photo by Autoindex.org

Decisions, decisions.

Some have to ponder whether to fill the tank at $2.10 a gallon or drive a few miles farther in the hope of finding fuel at $2.05.

Yet others ponder whether to buy an Aston Martin DB9 coupe starting at $155,000 when it goes on sale in September or wait until March to get the convertible starting at $168,000.

Whichever, they'll add $3,000 for a gas-guzzler tax to drive a car powered by a V-12 engine that gets only slightly better mileage than a Hummer.

But John Walton, vice president and general manager of the British creator of exotic sports cars, says the decision is moot--for the 2005 model year, at least.

"The DB9 is sold out for the first 12 months," he said in an interview while visiting Lake Forest Sports Cars (which moved to Lake Bluff six months ago) to show invited guests a copy of the coupe that will keep them waiting.

Walton offered cheese puffs and wine for solace.

Those who failed to put their name on a waiting list when word got out a year ago that a DB9 was coming to replace the DB7 now have to wait until the '06 models arrive to hand over $155,000 or $168,000--plus whatever price increase the next model year brings, of course.

There's more than a little irony in having an Aston Martin sold out for the first time.

"If Ford Motor Co. hadn't acquired Aston Martin in 1987, we wouldn't be having this conversation. Ford gave us the financial stability to survive and launch new cars," Walton said.

In the 90-year history of Aston Martin, Walton said he couldn't recall any year the automaker was profitable. Of course, Bill Ford, chairman of Ford Motor Co., hopes that deficits remain part of Aston Martin's past.

In an effort to make them so, Aston goes for the "entry-level" exotic buyer in the fall of 2005 with the AM V-8 coupe at the bargain price of $100,000.

The AM V-8 will be unveiled in production version at the Los Angeles or Detroit Auto Show in January.

When the DB9s and AM V-8 coupe join the $240,000 Aston Martin Vanquish V-12 in the lineup, the automaker will have enough variety to attract 5,500 buyers worldwide, half of them in the U.S. That's double what it does now, Walton said.

Aston Martin rose to prominence not from being the creme de la creme of sports cars, but from its association with James Bond. Ian Fleming's superspy piloted a DB5 in the 1964 movie "Goldfinger."

Thanks to 007, Aston Martin became the "Bond Car" and gave the automaker worldwide recognition among automotive buffs.

"No matter what car he's driven since then, Bond has always been linked with Aston Martin. I've had people come up to me angry that Bond, who is British, has driven a BMW. I've had to apologize and tell them it's not my fault," Walton said.

To its credit, Aston Martin has been able to stay in business despite limited offerings with high price tags.

"The economy doesn't affect the Aston Martin buyer like it does those of volume brands," Walton said.

"The owner typically has a stable of cars. The Aston Martin is one of the cars in the stable, the reward for success in life. But the Aston Martin owner prefers to be discreet and subtle about the success."

Doesn't the owner ever feel like letting the world in on the personal reward that costs more than many houses?

"These are people who prefer to wear designer labels on the inside. When they want to be seen, they drive their Ferrari," Walton said.

Should have known.

DB 9

photo by AutoWeek

AM V8

photo by Autoindex.org
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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.

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Old 06-17-2004, 16:24   #2 (permalink)
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Re: USA:Aston Martin's new coupe a sellout

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stacy94PGT
There's more than a little irony in having an Aston Martin sold out for the first time.

"If Ford Motor Co. hadn't acquired Aston Martin in 1987, we wouldn't be having this conversation. Ford gave us the financial stability to survive and launch new cars," Walton said.

In the 90-year history of Aston Martin, Walton said he couldn't recall any year the automaker was profitable. Of course, Bill Ford, chairman of Ford Motor Co., hopes that deficits remain part of Aston Martin's past.
This reminds me of a story I read where a friend of David Brown, who owned Aston Martin at the time, asked him if he could purchase a car at cost price (about 5000 pounds from memory) - he said "certainly, that will be one thousand pounds more than the list price"
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Old 06-17-2004, 22:39   #3 (permalink)
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Re: USA:Aston Martin's new coupe a sellout

It has such awesome styling, and the engine appears to be a gun that it would certainly be near the top of my shopping list. If I had a spare $155000 lying around...
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Old 06-19-2004, 03:05   #4 (permalink)
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Re: USA:Aston Martin's new coupe a sellout

You guys have gotta see the race between this car and the VFT on top gear. Good stuff. The car just oozes sex appeal.
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