00 No: ‘No Time To Die’ Delays Left Aston Martin Wounded
While the literary James Bond started with a Bentley, on the silver screen, his luxury cars bare a different badge. Bond’s association with Aston Martin is so strong that the British automaker released a continuation version of the famous Goldfinger DB5—with gadgets. However, these some ties may have contributed to the brand’s recent losses.
2020 saw Aston Martin take some massive losses
It’s safe to say that 2020 was a rough year for many vehicle companies. For instance, Harley-Davidson struggled even as off-road bike sales rose. And over in the high-end automotive world, McLaren wasn’t doing well, either. But it wasn’t the only British automaker to take a hit.
Aston Martin was already operating at a loss in 2019, Road & Track reports. But Aston’s 2020 losses were four times that of its 2019 losses, The Guardian reports. It lost the equivalent of $660 million in 2020. But money wasn’t the only thing Aston Martin lost in 2020.
In May 2020, Aston Martin’s CEO, Andy Palmer, stepped down after roughly 6 years at the helm, Autoweek reports. And at the time, signs pointed to the company’s financial situation as one of the motivating factors for Palmer’s departure, The Drive reports. Shortly thereafter, reduced production led Aston to cut 500 jobs.
These losses have also seemingly affected the upcoming Aston Martin hypercar, the Valhalla. Initially, it was going to use a “bespoke” 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 with hybrid elements, Motor1 reports. However, while the Valhalla isn’t canceled, that powertrain is.
Instead, the hypercar, and all future Aston Martins, will likely use a Mercedes-Benz powertrain, Autoweek reports. Appropriate, given that Mercedes increased its stake in the British automaker towards the end of 2020, Autoblog reports.
In short, things aren’t going so well at Aston Martin right now. But where does the upcoming James Bond film No Time to Die come into all of this?
Are the No Time to Die delays solely to blame for Aston Martin’s financial situation?
Historically, Aston Martin has relied on the James Bond films as a form of marketing, The Guardian reports. It even made a specific model, the DB10, just for one of these movies, Spectre. Company chairman Lawrence Stroll even said that No Time to Die “‘is aligned with [Aston Martin’s] marketing efforts,'” Autocar reports. So, with the movie being repeatedly delayed, the automaker’s missed out on the publicity and sales boost.
And Aston Martin features heavily in No Time to Die. The film features several different Aston Martin models, including the Goldfinger DB5, a Valhalla, and the DBS Superleggera, The Drive reports. Car and Driver also reports another previous-film car, the 1987 Vantage from The Living Daylights, was set to make an appearance. The automaker even released ‘007 Edition’ versions of the current Vantage and DBS Superleggera, Motor1 reports.
However, while the No Time to Die delays have hurt Aston, the film isn’t the main source of the losses. That would be the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which shuttered factories all across the UK. In January 2021 alone UK car production dropped 27.3%, the biggest January drop since 2009, Autocar reports. And even before No Time to Die was delayed due to the pandemic, Aston Martin was already posting a $163-million loss, Motor1 reports.
So, while the Bond movie’s delay hasn’t helped the automaker’s situation, it didn’t cause the biggest wounds.
It’s not all bad news for the British automaker
Despite the doom and gloom, though, there are still some rays of hope.
R&T notes that the Aston Martin DBX, the company’s first SUV, improved Q4 revenues by 3% year-over-year. And following its introduction and a “rebound” from China, Stroll reports the automaker is seeing “‘phenomenal’ demand,” Autoblog reports. Plus, the US-market DBX recently got a price cut, Motor1 reports.
Also, shortly after Palmer left Aston, the former boss of AMG, Tobias Moers, stepped in as company CEO. And No Time to Die finally has an official release date: October 8th, 2021, MotorTrend reports.
So, despite everything, it’s not Aston Martin’s time to die.
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