By Staff writer
Kuwait-backed luxury car maker to widen its product offering for markets across the Middle East
Aston Martin, the British luxury car maker part-owned by Kuwait’s Investment Dar, has announced plans to target lucrative Gulf markets with a range of new models.
The company said in a statement that it will widen its product offering for markets outside of Europe, with a focus on the Middle East and China.
Based on a conditional offer of an exceptional regional growth fund from the UK Government, Aston Martin said it will start work this year on new models intended to broaden its customer reach in export markets such as the Middle East.
The UK Government has committed support up to the value of £6.9 million, conditional on investments in new products from Aston Martin.
Aston Martin CEO Dr Andy Palmer said: "Expanding our product range to enable a greater reach into export markets is an essential part of our second century business plan. Having this support from the Government to help execute the plan is a meaningful vote of confidence in the future of the company.”
The Middle East is the largest luxury performance car consumer market worldwide, yet it represents a tiny portion of the luxury car maker’s turnover.
Aston Martin, James Bond's carmaker of choice, is the underdog in a British luxury auto industry dominated by Tata-owned Jaguar Land Rover, its next-door neighbour in the otherwise quiet Warwickshire village of Gaydon.
Held back by its ageing models and weak investment, the company has missed out on a luxury car boom that saw the global market almost double in five years. In 2013 it delivered 4,200 cars, far short of a pre-financial crisis peak of 7,300 in 2007.
Aston has already begun updating existing models under a £500 million investment strategy drawn up in 2012. That plan sees a replacement for the £120,000 DB9 in late 2016 and a return to profitability the following year.