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Aston Martin doubles number of new buyers with its DB11
THE number of "conquest customers" in Asia has more than doubled for Aston Martin, thanks to its all-new DB11 model.
Patrik Nilsson, president of Aston Martin Asia-Pacific, said: "In Singapore, the figure is around 70 per cent, with customers coming from a variety of luxury-car brands."
Prior to the arrival of the DB11, he said, conquest or new customers represented approximately 30 per cent of the brand's business.
Mr Nilsson added: "During 2017, we plan to sell around 40 per cent of DB11s to existing Aston Martin customers, with DB9 owners the largest segment."
Deliveries of the DB11 here began last month. It is the replacement for the DB9 and features a new body, turbocharged V12 engine and electrical system.
It is the iconic British marque's first core model launched under its "Second Century Plan", and the first since its technology alliance with Daimler.
In Singapore, conquest rates of super sports cars are said to have slumped to 10 to 20 per cent, partly because of the decline in demand for luxury performance cars and partly because of higher list prices from progressive taxation.
But while new customers are desired, old ones are equally cherished, and Aston Martin owners are known for their strong brand loyalty.
Mr Nilsson said the badge appeals because of its "understated British luxury attributes".
"It is a brand for customers who do not need to prove anything, and are confident in their own choices. They also appreciate the exquisite beauty and craftsmanship of our cars, as well the exhilarating drive experience."
He added that an Aston Martin sports car is also versatile; its "breadth of character" allows its owners to drive their car on a race track, go to work in the morning or for long-distance journeys from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur.
Also key is the marque's connection with fictional secret-service agent James Bond. Said Mr Nilsson: "Our long-standing love affair with James Bond is something we are very proud of, with 12 out of the 24 Bond films featuring an Aston Martin. The brand has an association with being cool, having been voted the UK's coolest brand five times since 2006."
Still, Aston Martin's allure seems to be especially powerful in Asia. For example, special models - those one-off cars that are not series production models such as the DB11 - are more popular with Asian customers.
Mr Nilsson said there is a strong collector market for the brand in the Asia-Pacific, particularly in Japan.
"The volume of limited-production models typically outperforms that of our core products for this region, and with this in mind, we hosted VIP events in Asia last September and October for the AM-RB 001 hypercar, a project we are collaborating on with Red Bull."
So while the core-model range in the Asia-Pacific represents, on average, 10 per cent of global volume, special projects models typically perform at around 15 per cent of global volume.
Overall, China and the Asia-Pacific combined represent around 17 per cent of Aston Martin's global volume and that number is expected to be "broadly similar" until 2020.
"What will change, however, is the overall production volume, as one all-new product is introduced each year as part of our Second Century plan. Not only does the plan refresh our core sports-car range, but also sees us launch a luxury SUV, enter the super-luxury sedan segment with the Lagonda brand, as well as continue to bring limited-production, special-project cars to market.''
To ensure exclusivity, though, Mr Nilsson emphasised that the production of core sports cars will not exceed 7,000 units.
The production figure for 2016 has not been announced, but the company reported sales of 3,615 cars in 2015.