British sportscar company Aston Martin (AML.L) took the wraps off its first sports utility vehicle on Tuesday, with a simultaneous unveiling in Los Angeles and Beijing.
The new DBX is late to the luxury SUV market, where Lamborghini and Porsche already sell successful SUVs. The brand is hoping that the sleek DBX will broaden its the brand’s appeal and deliver a financial boost.
"I can't emphasise enough how incredibly exciting and significant DBX is for Aston Martin," chief executive Andy Palmer said in a statement. "Through its development alone, this beautiful SUV has already taken the company into new territories and in inspiring directions."
At $189,900 (£147,300), the Aston Martin DBX will be competing in the same price bracket as the Bentley Bentayga and the Lamborghini Urus. The DBX has a 4.0-litre, V8 twin-turbo engine producing 540 horsepower. It can accelerate from zero-to-60mph in 4.3 seconds and hit a top speed of 181mph.
Aston Martin has a lot riding on the DBX. The 106-year-old company made its stock market debut in London last year and has since seen its shares lose 60% of their value. In September, it raised $150m in a bond sale to help it finance the production of the DBX.
However, Palmer said in an interview with CarAdvice that the goal was not to mass produce the DBX, rather to give Aston customers the option to buy an SUV from the brand. “We have deliberately capped volume at 5,000 a year so it’s always going to be a rare beast,” Palmer told CarAdvice, noting that expanding the model lineup “allows us to get bigger in overseas markets and is transformational in terms of what it will do to the company … it means not having all of our eggs in one basket.”
Women are a vital target in the ever-expanding market for huge, expensive SUVs. Like Lamborghini, Aston also created a female advisory board to gather input from women on what they need in a car.
Carlee Hardaker, Aston Martin’s senior manager of Global Customer and Market Intelligence, told Yahoo Finance UK in April that traditionally about 94% of Aston’s customers have been male, but that is changing, and there is a potential for about 27% of luxury car market customers to be female.
"They've been brought into the process of design really far in advance to make sure that the car, not just from a design standpoint but from functionality, size and space perspectives, works for, not just men but women, as well," Laura Schwab, president of Aston America, said on Tuesday.
The DBX will be built in Aston’s new factory in Wales, UK, with an aim to start deliveries from the second half of 2020.