Susan Hires a Boss

Aston Martin goes slumming

So these guys landed in my email box yesterday. Luxury cars taken down to a Smart Car verions. They look ridiculous. Who doesn't want a Ferrari? But one like this? The Porsche looks like something from a cartoon.

Now, these obviously Photoshopped luxury cars provoke quite a chuckle. The idea of a commuter version of a Lambroghini just smacks of the surreal. People who buy luxury sports cars are totally not the market for a commuter car, right?

So how to explain the news out of Aston Martin yesterday? I mean, this is the luxury brand synonymous with James Bond - sleek, fast, sexy. It's a dream car for car lovers. And a pipe dream for most of us.

When I saw the headline for a budget Aston Martin, I was curious. I'm thinking it's Aston Martin, so maybe they're introducing a lower priced sports car, something for half what the DB9 goes for.

Color me surprised, shocked and nonplussed to see what they were actually talking about. It's a commuter car. Not quite like they're shrinking the DB9 down like the joke pictures above, but it feels like just as much of a joke.

Their logic is a desire to move with the market, not get trapped in the same morass as American car makers. Bravo to them for that. But at the expense of their brand?

The way I see it, Aston Martin will have a hard time taking new market segments while holding true to the core of their brand. This is a company that prides itself on making bespoke products, each as individual as its owner. That level of craftsmanship just isn't something that flies with certain segments of the market, nor are they willing to pay for it.

My instinct would have been to expand out the licensing of the Aston Martin name. There's already a line of luxury watches and an art collection. What about an Aston Martin jet? An Aston Martin vodka? An Aston Martin suit? I sadly see a big fail with the choice to become a car company for all levels. But it's going to be interesting to see if they can prove me wrong.
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posted on Jun 30, 2009 under


steve said...

Susan I really love your style and innovative outlook most of the time.
This time I think you may be missing the point though. Consider that worldwide reliance on fossil fuels is leaving more and more people concerned about their own consumption. Plus the number of car manufactures going bankrupt or out of business because they failed to consider fuel consumption a factor.
Add those 2 things together and this might just be the perfect time to couple quality with a reduction in carbon footprint. Only time will tell, but I wish them the best of luck. A successful launch might just send a wake up call to American auto manufacturers.(They seemed to have missed the signs when Toyota and Honda made a comparable shift a few decades ago!)

Norbert said...

This is an old article, so you probably know this already; but for the sake of readers that stumble upon it randomly: one of the primary reasons Aston Martin built this ugly car is to meet new legislation which requires them to compensate for the carbon-footprint of the other Aston Martins.