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Here to stay

Lots of negativity surrounding Aston Martin at the moment, on the back of the recent launch of two cracking cars.  The Vanquish and DB9 are highly rated by the media yet the attached caveat stipulates that it can’t last forever.

The lack of confidence regarding modest sales and future finance is understandable but remember that these new Astons are excellent to drive, sound glorious and look more beautiful than any other car produced today.  Mate that to a brand image second to none, in the luxury goods market not just high end car market, and you have a marketing dream.  Dynamite.

Cars at Aston’s level are generally aspirational and emotional purchases, usually City boys with bonuses to fling at whatever car looks best, makes them look good and raises their status.  Cue Aston Martin.  I would even suggest that many high value fashion buyers don’t even have much knowledge of cars, only what is perceived as ‘must have’ and acceptable.

They’ve weathered the worst recession the world has ever seen and emerged with a world class line up to boot.  Sure, a tie-up in the future would be beneficial but it will happen only after a long process of seeking out the right partner/buyer, when Bez feels the time is right. 

So who could offer Aston a crutch?  Mercedes SLS underpinnings could be a fantastic basis for the future range, though I feel JLR stewardship would be preferable, especially given that the forthcoming Jag SUV could be jointly developed as an Aston, presumably based on the new Range Rover Sport.  Don’t rule out the ever circling VW whose knack of funding and steering purchased minnows would benefit Aston hugely, in a Lambo way, though perhaps not in a re-skinned Phaeton way…

So ease off Aston please, it’ll be fine.


A blast from the past

I remembered an amusing if infuriating chat with an ex-girlfriend I had a few years ago about the dastardly polluting ways of 4×4 vehicles.  She was from a trendy, misguided ‘green’ family who attended an annual ‘No Nukes’ protest in Parliament Square, walked to the local shops instead of driving (except when raining) and ate bird feed instead of chips.  That was the long and short of it.  She berated anyone who used a 4×4 and said she felt guilty even sitting in my old man’s Range Rover.

I asked her how polluting the Rangie was.  “Very” was her response.  I then asked if she meant C02 or pollutants.  She looked pretty vacant after that one.  And so it went on.  She did know that hot engines pumped out less of whatever she didn’t know, than cold ones, which rocked me a bit.  I enquired as to how she could slam all 4×4 owners when she, and her knit-wearing rosy-cheeked family hadn’t a clue how harmful they were, even in relation to other cars on the road.  She squirmed and raised her voice.

I then suggested that Mr Photocopier Rep who drove an Eco Focus  40,000 miles each year, polluted far more than Mr Retiree who drove his V8 Range Rover 5,000 miles each year.  No matter how I explained it, with arm gestures, pen and paper and 3D modelling, she simply couldn’t grasp that.  I suspect that if she did, everything her parents had drip-fed her over the years would suddenly mean nothing and then where would the anger be channelled?

I eventually proved my general point to her, entertaining myself in the process, but it’s always the same with the anti-SUV crowd.  They’ll happily pluck the most convincing statistics without fully understanding them and ram them down everyone’s throats for eternity until long after it becomes moot.  They’ll actively chase poor Mr Bumworthy down the street throwing eggs at his Discovery, whilst the empty number 67 chugs past un-impinged.

It’s a self-satisfying protest.  Backslapping all round after a thirty second appearance on the 6 O’clock news hoisting placards aloft outside the factory gates, whilst engineers the world over work tirelessly to improve each engine generation and seek out efficiency gains.

You can guarantee that the next generation Range Rover, with over 400kgs shed from its waist, stop-start and eventual electric running, will be hounded in exactly the same fashion.  They don’t understand and possibly would prefer not to.

Oh, you might be wondering what my ex’s family pootled around in when “absolutely necessary”…. A 20 year old Nissan Patrol.  Priceless.