Aston Martin Vantage Aimed At Ferrari.
“There’s not much competition for Aston Martin apart from the Ferraris. It’s a nice area for them”
Aston Martin’s new Vantage sports car, unveiled last week, is causing some angst amongst Ferrari shareholders because it promises competition in a sector where it formally prowled alone.
The Vantage, powered by a twin-turbo 4.0 liter, 503 hp V8 gasoline engine goes on sale around the world in the second quarter of 2018. Priced at $149,995 before tax in the U.S., the Vantage will be a close competitor to the Ferrari Portofino, unveiled at the Frankfurt Car Show in September. The Portofino replaces the California T, as the cheapest model, which has yet to be priced or formally launched.
Investment researcher Evercore ISI said in a recent report that Ferrari should increase its presence in this cheaper sector as it strives to raise sales, but the Vantage would provide direct competition.
“While the Aston’s arrival does not stop Ferrari from entering this segment and being successful in it, clearly competition is not standing still.” Evercore ISI analyst Arndt Ellinghorst said.
Ferrari is also believed to be planning a smaller model which will revive the iconic Dino name by the early 2020s. This would be powered by a 2.9 litre V6 engine, perhaps with a plug-in hybrid option.
IHS Markit analyst Tim Urquhart said the Vantage sector is currently only threatened by Ferrari, and high–end versions of the Porsche 911 turbo and Porsche GT3, and Mercedes AMG GTs.
“There’s not much competition for Aston Martin apart from the Ferraris. It’s a nice area for them. These driver performance focussed cars can do a little bit of both; they are at home on the track, and you could drive across France in one,” Urquhart said.
IHS Markit expects global Vantage sales to peak at 3,047 in 2018 and drift down to 2,340 by 2020. The previous model peaked at 1,945 in 2009 and slowly slid to 1,242 this year.
The new Vantage will blast from rest to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and on to 195 mph, deploying its huge power and torque to the rear wheels via a rear-mounted eight-speed automatic transmission.
For the first time on an Aston Martin the new Vantage features an Electronic Rear Differential. This is linked to the car’s electronic stability control system, so it can understand the car’s behaviour, and react to direct the engine’s power to the relevant wheel. At higher speeds, the Electronic Differential’s speed and sensitivity of response enables the system to take control of the car’s dynamic behaviour.
According to Aston Martin, it makes the car feel much more composed both in straight-line stability and its cornering performance, providing the driver with increased levels of confidence to explore and enjoy the car’s capabilities to the full.
The chassis uses a bonded aluminum structure first seen on the DB11, though some 70% per of the structure’s components are new for the Vantage.
“Balance, strength, rigidity and weight efficiency were all priorities in the new Vantage design, as was handling purity and consistency,” Aston Martin said.
You can order a new Vantage now with a price from 120,900 pounds in the UK, and 154,000 euros in Germany, both after tax.
Aston Martin made money in the first half of 2017 for the first time in almost 10 years, thanks in part to sales of its new 4.0 litre twin turbo V8 DB11.
In the first six months, Aston Martin earned pre-tax profit of £21.1 million ($28.3 million) compared with a loss of £82.3 million ($110.3 million) in the same period last year.
Sales surged 67% to 2,439 vehicles.
Aston Martin expects full-year volumes to rise by around a third to roughly 5,000.
At the launch of the Vantage, Aston Martin said it was on course this year to post its first annual pre-tax profit since 2010.
Aston Martin, owned 37.5% by Italian private equity firm Investindustrial, along with Kuwaiti companies Investment Dar and Adeem Investment and others including Daimler, is implementing a turnaround plan which could propel it towards a stock market flotation by the end of the decade.
Ford sold Aston Martin in 2007.
Aston Martin concept cars include an electric Rapide S. CEO Andy Palmer has said a DBX SUV will be launched in 2020, and the electric Rapide will go into production next year. The company is also planning to use its brand to sell yachts, apartments and handbags.
The financial media has reported Aston Martin may float on the stock market next year. Its value could reach £2.3 billion ($3.1 billion).
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