Aston Martin Lagonda’s losses more than halved in the first quarter as sales of its first-ever sports utility vehicle (SUV) accelerated, especially in markets such as China.
The luxury carmaker – which will get a significant marketing boost later this year as James Bond’s car of choice when the next film in the spy franchise hits global cinemas – reported a pre-tax loss of just over £42m in the first three months.
This is less than half the £110m loss for the same period last year. Revenues hit £224m, significantly more than analysts had expected, with the new DBX SUV accounting for more than half of total car sales.
Aston Martin, which has endured a torrid time since its disastrous stock market flotation three years ago, hailed the performance as the “first step” towards successful revitalisation of the company’s fortunes.
“I am delighted with the great progress we are making, which mark the first steps towards achieving our medium-term targets,” said the executive chairman, Lawrence Stroll, the Canadian billionaire who took control of Aston Martin last year in a £500m rescue deal and brought in Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler as a major shareholder. “My co-investors and I are very confident in the future success and potential for Aston Martin as we transform the company to be one of the great luxury car brands in the world.”
Aston Martin sold 1,353 cars to dealers during the first quarter, with the DBX SUV accounting for 55% of sales, more than double the same period last year.
The company highlighted China, the world’s largest market for luxury goods, and the Americas as the strongest markets for sales.
A move to reduce the amount of unsold cars at dealerships to restore exclusivity to its brand also appears to be paying off. The popularity of the DBX SUV and the de-stocking strategy helped raise the average sales price from £113,000 to £149,000 year-on-year.
“Dealer inventory for GT/Sport is now at our ideal levels earlier than originally planned and supporting stronger pricing dynamics,” said Tobias Moers, Aston Martin chief executive, the former boss of Daimler’s high-performance division, Mercedes-AMG. “We are encouraged by the growth in orders for both GT/Sport and DBX.”
The company maintained its target of 6,000 sales this year. It aims to reach 10,000 annual sales by 2024 or 2025 and revenues of £2bn. Aston Martin, which has net debt of £723m, has lost £680m since listing on the London Stock Exchange in 2018.