The very first Aston Martin DBX rolled off the assembly line this week at the company’s factory in St Athan, Wales. It’s fair to say pretty much the entire company is riding on the SUV.
The first DBX is the culmination of five years of development, and is probably a sight for sore eyes for Aston which, like every major automaker, was forced to shut down production amid the coronavirus pandemic. Aston is also late to the SUV party, as pretty much every automaker has an SUV at this point, but the question will be if Aston is truly too late.
That’s because just a couple weeks ago Aston said that it was going to raise 260 million pounds in new funds to keep the business going, some of that in the form of debt that would be expensive to have long-term. The financial details of that were slightly boring but the message was clear: Time is running out.
It’s also clear, as it has been for decades, that making high-end sports cars solvently is close to being an impossible proposition. Which is something that Aston hinted at in its statement this week about the first DBX (emphasis mine):
With its all-wheel drive system, DBX is a car that will allow the company to increase its presence in markets where perhaps the weather or terrain is less than conducive to rear-wheel drive sports cars. The clear emphasis on a spacious and luxurious cabin – whether seated in the front or back – will also allow Aston Martin to better reach customers who prefer to be driven rather than drive.
And also the following bit of understatement:
With around 80% of production expected to be exported and sold overseas, it is an important model for Aston Martin and a clear illustration of the strength of British manufacturing capabilities.
I don’t have much of a feeling about whether Aston will actually pull this off, or if the DBX will be more of a day late and dollar short situation, but we’ll probably have some idea early next year. Aston Martin has said they have taken over 2,000 orders for the DBX, according to Autocar, which should take production into next year, given the plant’s output of 4,000 DBXs. After that, it’s anyone’s guess.