How has Aston Martin turned itself around?

The luxury car manufacturer trades red for black with its first profit since 2010.

by Stephen Jones
Last Updated: 27 Feb 2018

The Aston Martin DB11 is a powerful machine - with a twin-turbocharged 5.2 litre V12 engine, it boasts 600 brake horsepower. Even more significant though has been its role in driving Aston Martin's resurgence.

After six straight years of losses, the Gaydon-based manufacturer has finally gone back into the black, with a pre-tax profit of £87m, a 48% increase in annual sales (to £876m) and its most lucrative fourth quarter ever.

Of course all of this was predicted by CEO Andy Palmer. Since his appointment in 2014, Nissan’s former executive vice president and chief planning officer has orchestrated a strategy of expansion aimed at boosting the fortunes of a company that has, at times teetered on the edge of bankruptcy.

How has Palmer done it?

Palmer’s strategy, dubbed the Second Century Plan, has been simple: expand the company’s manufacturing footprint and extend its product range.

This is where the DB11 comes in. When it was unveiled in Geneva in 2016 it was the first time Aston Martin had revamped its popular DB range in 13 years and at the time was hailed by Palmer as the most important car in its history.

The car has proved immensely popular, leading to Aston Martin's largest full-year sales in nine years, with over 5,000 units being sold worldwide. This has been supplemented by an increase in sales of other ranges.

Next year, the firm will open a new manufacturing plant at St. Athan in Wales, which will produce the first SUV range in the manufacturer's 115-year history. Production of specialist models has also restarted at its Newport Pagnell site for the first time in a decade.

Now that it's back in the black, the British icon is keen to maintain its momentum. Product expansion will continue with the release of the DB11 Volante, new Vantage and Vanquish replacement models.

It is also believed that execs and shareholders of the private manufacturer are exploring the possibility a stock market listing with the investment bank Lazard acting as advisors.

Strap yourself in, they're hitting the gas.

 Image credit: Shutterstock

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