“The DBX will take As­ton Martin into new ter­ri­tory with bold en­gi­neer­ing and tech”

Top Gear (UK) - - COLUMNS -

Things move fast in the world of lux­ury cars, and with the sheer pace of tech­no­log­i­cal change and the volatile state of the global econ­omy, we at As­ton Martin need to work hard to stay ahead of the game. We’re now two years into our Sec­ond Cen­tury Plan. The idea is to make a sus­tain­able busi­ness for the next 100 years: ex­pand­ing it, de­vel­op­ing new prod­ucts and build­ing new part­ner­ships.

A new gen­er­a­tion of lux­ury cus­tomers are com­ing. They like the As­ton Martin brand, but are look­ing for some­thing difer­ent. This is where our new SUV, the DBX, comes in. The DBX will take As­ton Martin into new ter­ri­tory with bold en­gi­neer­ing and tech­nol­ogy, while re­tain­ing the essence of what makes As­ton Martin so spe­cial: beau­ti­ful, pow­er­ful, hand-crafted cars.

Au­ton­o­mous vehicles reg­u­larly make the head­lines, and though I be­lieve we’re a long way from true au­ton­omy, the tech­nolo­gies are evolv­ing rapidly. With 95 per cent of road trafc ac­ci­dents caused by hu­man er­ror, you can see how these de­vel­op­ments are so vi­tal. We are al­ready work­ing on au­ton­o­mous tech­nolo­gies that still pre­serve the joy of driv­ing for a high-per­for­mance car. We are also re­main­ing true to our sport­ing ori­gins, for ex­am­ple, by al­ways hav­ing a man­ual trans­mis­sion car in our range.

Qual­ity is more im­por­tant than ever so we have raised our game even higher as our cus­tomers de­mand per­fec­tion. And we are ex­plor­ing new tech­no­log­i­cal fron­tiers with our In­no­va­tion Part­ner­ship with Red Bull Rac­ing. First de­ployed with the As­ton Martin Valkyrie, a truly as­ton­ish­ing next-gen hy­per­car that sold out as soon as it was an­nounced.

Our cus­tomers also want an emo­tional con­nec­tion to the brand. The “Art of Liv­ing by As­ton Martin” takes own­er­ship be­yond sports cars and cre­ates ex­pe­ri­ences through a se­ries of be­spoke events and prod­ucts. From power­boats to lux­ury apart­ments, be­spoke hol­i­days and the As­ton Martin brand cen­tre in Dover Street, Lon­don.

2017 looks set to be an­other vintage year for As­ton Martin… or should that be a “Van­tage” year? The Sec­ond Cen­tury Plan de­liv­ers a new model ev­ery nine months for the next six years. Last year we launched the As­ton Martin DB11, and 2017 will be the year we re­veal the new Van­tage.

The Van­tage is our weapon of choice on the race­track, and we will see it in ac­tion with the cham­pi­onship-win­ning As­ton Martin Rac­ing team this month. Such has been the suc­cess of our rac­ing en­deav­ours, we have named our new per­for­mance brand AMR, which will am­plify our sport­ing prow­ess across the As­ton Martin model range, start­ing with the Rapide AMR and Van­tage AMR Pro.

As we ex­tend our range we have in­vested heav­ily in our fu­ture, not least in the de­vel­op­ment of our sec­ond UK man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity. At the be­gin­ning of April we took own­er­ship of three su­per hangars that were part of the for­mer mil­i­tary air base at St Athan in Wales. This is where we will build the As­ton Martin DBX with the frst car on tar­get to come of the new pro­duc­tion line in 2019.

Be­fore work got started on turn­ing the hangars into a car plant, some of our driv­ers took the op­por­tu­nity to let out their in­ner “hoon”. With all that space, it would have been rude not to, so three tal­ented driv­ers – Darren Turner, Nicki Thiim and Matt Becker – took some As­ton Martins for a joyride. You can see what they got up to in the breath­tak­ing video on en­joy the ride!

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