Unlike Lamborghini did with the Urus or Bentley did with the Bentayga.
It’s kind of contradicting how luxury automakers that restrict production numbers for their most exclusive cars are simultaneously building SUVs in attempts to boost sales and earn more profits. Lamborghini and Bentley are the most shameless in this pursuit, with both companies’ parent, the Volkswagen Group, telling them that they need to change their strategies and become more profitable. For low-volume manufacturers like those, that means either increasing sales volume, which risks diluting the brand, or building more exclusive special edition models with astronomical price tags.
Both tactics are exactly what Bentley and Lamborghini have employed, but there’s another automaker out there that’s been adopting that approach. It all began with an uptick in special editions from Aston Martin, cars like the Vulcan and Valkyrie, but moved onto its second phase when the British automaker put out word that it was building an SUV.
The DBX hasn’t been released yet, but Aston Martin has been making headlines lately by leaking details about the SUV. First, we heard about how Aston Martin thinks the SUV sales boom has been caused by women, and that the DBX will bring more of the fairer sex to the brand. But now, we have a better idea of how many people will buy the DBX. Or rather, how many people Aston Martin will let buy its new SUV.
Speaking with Car Sales, Aston Martin chief executive Andy Palmer stamped out rumors claiming that the DBX was just another way for a struggling niche automaker to capitalize on the SUV mania. Rather, he said that his company will restrict production numbers and keep the car exclusive. "I purposefully restrained production to 5,000 units – for exactly that reason. There's always a tendency when you've got an order book to turn everything up,” said Palmer. "And when you do that, you start making mistakes in my experience.”
It’s a noble goal for Aston Martin, especially given that early signs of strong demand for the DBX mean that there’s a temptation for the automaker to just crank up production and solve its money woes. Part of the reason for the limit, though, is production capacity. "The plant is capable of 5000 units on a single shift basis and we'll build to that. No more. When Lagonda comes in 2023, we'll turn it up to 7000 but we'll leave it at that, with around 4000 DBXs rolling off the line and another 3000 Lagondas."
Obviously, Palmer is predicting (rightfully, probably) that the SUV craze will continue past 2023. But with numbers remaining limited, who will Aston Martin allow to purchase its new SUV? Its most loyal customers, mainly. "It helps that 72 percent of our existing customers already have an SUV in the garage, so getting to our existing customers who are already in love with Aston is not a bad starting place," he said.