NEW YORK - Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd. is enjoying a much greater share of the auto show limelight here and in other cities, out of all proportion to its tiny sales volume.
Ford Motor Co. has owned Aston since 1987. But Ford CEO Jac Nasser recently raised its profile, insisting that all brands under the Ford umbrella, including Aston Martin, Jaguar and Mazda, be represented at the Ford Motor Co. auto show stand. That started with the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January and continued here last week.
'The association is potentially very powerful,' said Bob Dover, CEO of Aston, based in Newport Pagnell in England, in an interview at the New York show.
Ford also includes Aston in its Premier Group of luxury brands, including newcomer Volvo, to be led by Wolfgang Reitzle, who recently left BMW AG. 'We are a very small part of the package, obviously,' Dover said. 'But I am looking forward to working with him (Reitzle). He is such a great car guy.'
In New York, Aston introduced the DB7 Vantage for the 2000 model year, a high-performance, V-12 version of the DB7, which was introduced in 1996.
Aston held its New York introduction at the Ford stand, instead of one of the obscure spots the brand has occupied in previous years. The Volvo acquisition came too late to relocate the Volvo stand, which was in the basement at the New York show.
Pricing has not been announced, but Aston expects to charge around $170,000 for the DB7 Vantage. The U.S. subsidiary sold 160 cars in 1998. Dover said U.S. volume in 1999 should be at least 250, and worldwide sales should hit 700.