The clock’s ticking for Aston Martin’s big reveal. On November 20 in Beijing, the British marque finally gets to show off its SUV - the DBX - that attempts to combine oodles of performance with the trappings of luxury. And if enough people are convinced, they will sign up for the model that is priced at Dh848,000 - and much more - but they will still need to wait a few more months to actually drive off in their new vehicles.
For Aston Martin, the DBX is the latest - one would say, the most serious - attempt at breaking the hold its British rivals Rolls-Royce and Bentley have at the top of the automotive pyramid. But, based on market feedback, enough buyers in the UAE and Gulf have already placed their orders, well before the first sightings of what it would look like. Dan Balmer, President for Aston Martin Lagonda Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, is not surprised by all this interest. “Yes, this is quite common for us, we call them “Confidential” events and they happen all over the world,” says Balmer. “Our customers know they will be shown something special ahead of the general public... so the response is always strong. This is a key part of our position as a luxury brand, our customers learn about our new models in great detail before public releases.”
Building a DBX base in these markets will be central to future prospects. It is a strategy that worked well for Bentley’s Bentayga (launched in 2015 and priced from Dh850,000) and the Rolls’ Cullinan (introduced in 2018 and with a price tag upwards of Dh2 million). Balmer does not intend to get into a numbers game just yet. “We won’t indicate a regional breakdown - but we will confirm we expect DBX to double our sales in this region due to the high demand already seen for luxury SUVs and the fantastic early reaction we have already seen. DBX combines our sportscar performance and handling with SUV capability and safety. We offer a number of USPs over previously launched SUVs – starting with being the most beautiful on the market matched with class-leading space and dynamic ability.”
But Aston Martin has gone to some lengths to match the expectations of all possible buyer demographics - at least those who can spend Dh800,000 on their rides. “Each button and dial has been carefully positioned following extensive testing from external counsel, including the brand’s Female Advisory Board and multiple customer clinics with HNWIs (high networth individuals) of mixed demographic,” the carmaker says in a statement.
The DBX will not be the only SUV off the Aston Martin production ramps. “We launched a concept under the Lagonda brand in 2018 and again as an SUV in 2019,” Balmer adds. “Our plan is to produce battery electric vehicles - as Lagonda, which completely revolutionize and disrupt the “duopoly” in the luxury sedan/full-size SUV segment.
“The combination of design, technology and packaging that the Lagonda concepts demonstrated will re-establish Lagonda as the finest of fast cars - just as the famous Lagonda of the past did. Engineering these innovations has already started. We expect to bring these cars to market in the first-half of the next decade.”