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What Aston Martin's new boss needs to do to save the company

By Andy Enright, 17 Jul 2020 Features

What Aston Martin's new boss needs to do to save the company

We outline five steps that Aston needs to take in order to survive

The office is being readied at Gaydon for Tobias Moers, the dynamic former boss of AMG, to take up the reins at Aston Martin.

With the Andy Palmer years now receding in the rear-view and financial turmoil threatening to derail the best-laid of plans, Moers needs to act decisively.

Here are some key action points he needs to address:

Stick to the knitting

Moers was extremely adept at understanding what customers wanted from an AMG product, and set in place procedures to deliver those products with clearly measurable targets, doubling the size of its product portfolio while quadrupling sales.

The business needs to re-examine what Aston Martin is and what it means to customers and deliver on these values, while intelligently modernising the product offering.

Streamline DBX deliveries

Aston’s costly potential saviour has been slow to reach customers. We were looking at the concept of this vehicle at the Geneva Show more than five years ago and deliveries are only now starting to trickle to dealers.

Any high-end SUV has a finite moment in the spotlight, and manufacturers are starting to realise that these vehicles aren't the guaranteed cash cows they seemed at project inception.

Read next: Tobias Moers’ most important AMGs

In 2017, for example, Maserati sold 5485 Levantes. In the same year, Porsche sold 18 Macans for every Levante registered. Sergio Marchionne called the Levante's launch 'a disaster'.

Aston Martin can't afford to botch the DBX's introduction.

Rationalise mid-engined costs

Moers needs to wield the red pen here. The new product promises coming out of Gaydon in recent years have had unnerving similarities to Dany Bahar's smorgasbord of empty assurances at Lotus.

The Valkyrie has had too much money ploughed into it to cancel it at this stage, but question marks must hang over both the Valhalla and the Vanquish Concept teased at the 2019 Geneva show.

The DBX needs to pay back first. It’s pointless drowning in debt only to find you’ve become another McLaren.

 

Re-examine product walk-up

Only last year, Aston Martin was talking bullishly about hitting a sales ceiling of 14,000 cars per year, this coming on the back of 6441 sales in 2018 and 5098 in 2017.

Then 2019 happened, sales slumped and the stock, which was offered at IPO for £16.00 shrivelled to £0.60.

Read next: New Zealand's Aston Martin Valkyrie rival

Palmer has been given his marching orders and Aston's whole 'Second Century' plan seems in tatters.

Perhaps now is a good time to look at some of the fundamentals of the model range and ask why a premium manufacturer has its lowest margin model cannibalising sales of a more profitable one.

There's something a little off about the positioning of Vantage and DB11, a car that really can't seem to decide what it wants to be.

In the case of the former, it's been a perennial Aston Martin product management issue going right back to the days of Dr Ulrich Bez. In other words, how do you solve a problem like Vantage?

Revisit design ethos

The company has lost its focus from creating some of the most stylish interiors in the business.

An Aston Martin should differentiate itself with the most beautiful styling inside and out.

Read next: Stunning Aston Martin DBR1 breaks auction record

While there have been some grouses about the current Vantage's exterior styling, the real problem lies inside.

The current Vantage cabin is, to put it bluntly, a mess.

Weird Dali-esque droops and curves, questionable materials choices, clumsily canted air vents and, worst of all, a steering wheel that is virtually square.

The clean elegance of, for example, a 2010 DBS fascia has been completely lost in a woeful mish-mash of clashing influences.

Porsche and Ferrari have reinvented the design language of their interiors with the Taycan and SF90 respectively. Aston Martin now needs to do likewise.

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