Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings Plc began production of its debut sport-utility vehicle, the linchpin to the struggling U.K. carmaker’s hopes to engineer a turnaround and repair its virus-battered balance sheet.
The US$189,000 DBX is being assembled at Aston Martin’s factory in St. Athan, built on the former site of a defense ministry airfield. The manufacturer is looking to attack the ultra-luxury SUV segment occupied by the likes of Lamborghini’s Urus and Bentley’s Bentayga.
Lately, Aston Martin’s own finances have been under fire. In the months since Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll bailed out the carmaker at the beginning of the year, it has announced a CEO change and said it may need to seek more funding. Aston Martin shares have plunged more than 90 per cent since their listing less than two years ago, failing to replicate Ferrari NV’s stock market success.
Tobias Moers, the former head of Daimler AG’s Mercedes-AMG performance division, will replace Andy Palmer as chief executive officer on Aug. 1. Moers, 54, will count on the DBX to boost sales in markets including China, where wealthy consumers’ preference to be driven by chauffeurs in roomier rides has helped high-priced SUVs catch on.