BEIJING Nov 29 A quarter of global sales
for British luxury car maker Aston Martin could come from the
Asia Pacific region within two years, nearly double the current
share, thanks to robust demand in China, a senior executive said
China, which Aston Marton officially entered three years
ago, has already become its largest and fastest growing market
in Asia Pacific, the company's director for the region, Matthew
Bennett, told reporters in Beijing.
In 2010, it delivered 110 cars in the country. The
year-to-date tally is double and could hit 500 units in 2012,
"China is not only the biggest but the fastest growing by a
long, long way (in the region). In 18 months we will see China
and Asia Pacific as a whole really on a par with the other big
Asia Pacific now contributes 12-15 percent of Aston Martin's
global sales, according to Bennett.
Top global marques, from Daimler AG's
Mercedes-Benz to Rolls-Royces, have racked up stellar sales in
China where growing ranks of rich consumers are fueling sales of
luxury items from Gucci handbags to Rolex watches.
To help win over more customers in China, Aston Martin is
introducing the V12 Zagato, which premiered at the Frankfurt
auto show, with a price tag of roughly 9 million yuan ($1.41
million), including import tariffs of more than 100 percent.
Many of its popular models, such as Rapide and V8 Vantage
Roadster, are already available here.
Aston Martin chief executive Ulrich Bez told Reuters in
September that he wanted a diversified geographical reach, with
a fifth of the sales in China, a fifth in the UK, a fifth in the
rest of Europe and a fifth in North America.
Currently, Aston Martin has five outlets in China covering
major cities and the surrounding areas. At least seven more will
be added, bringing the total number to 12 outlets by the end of
2012, he said.
NO FEAR OF SLOWDOWN
In a recent East Asia and Pacific economic update, the World
Bank said it expects regional growth to moderate from next year
as overseas economies slow and Beijing steers the economy to
rely less on investment and manufacturing.
Fears that China may be set for a sharp slowdown flared
again last week after HSBC's flash PMI survey showed the factory
sector shrank the most in 32 months in November on signs of
domestic economic weakness.
Bennett said he was aware of the situation but remained
optimistic about the potential of the world's largest auto
"We are still relatively new in China. We still see a very
significant growth opportunity for us here," he said.
Other global luxury car makers, such as Mercedes-Benz and
BMW have also announced investment and expansion
schemes in China.
Ford Motor Co sold Aston Martin for 479 million pounds
($756 million) in March 2007 to a consortium led by David
Richards -- former Formula 1 Benetton and BAR racing boss -- as
well as two Kuwaiti funds.