One of the most beautiful and seductive vehicles on the road today is… well.. any of the models manufactured by Aston Martin. While some manufacturers focus on performance or luxury or technology, Aston Martin remains preoccupied with beauty.
“First and foremost, an Aston Martin should be beautiful,” explains Matthew Clarke, Head of PR and Brand Communications for Aston Martin, The Americas. “Of course they have to perform and they must be luxurious, but design and beauty are first and foremost.”
Take the Aston Martin Vanquish as an example of how successfully the brand combines beauty with brawn. This stunning rear-wheel-drive work of art features a robust 6-litre V12 engine that delivers 565 hp and 457 lb. ft. of torque, catapulting the Vanquish from a dead stop to 100 km/hr in just a hair over 4 seconds.
Aston Martin’s new masterpiece is on sale now for a mere CDN $296,000, with deliveries scheduled for early next year. In Canada, Aston Martin has a total of five dealerships – Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and two in Toronto.
The Vanquish comes fully loaded with all the amenities one would expect from a vehicle in this price range, but Aston Martin is happy to customize each vehicle to suit the likes of the individual client.
“There is an enormous amount of personalization with an Aston Martin,” Clarke says. “It’s a lot like being measured for a bespoke suit.”
Once the customer chooses an exterior and interior colour, they then decide on the materials and colours they would like for their seats, the headliner, the seatbelts, etc. They also decide what kind of stitching they’d like the grain and colour of the carpet, and so forth.
“You can do all of that at the dealership, or you can visit the factory in Gaydon, UK and spec your car there,” Clarke adds. “People take their families and friends and make a day of it. You can also watch your car being built. We’ve had people take two weeks off for vacation and come and watch their car being built. They sit on a deck chair and watch the entire process.”
If the customer’s wants are at the extreme and unusual end of the desire spectrum, they’re referred to Aston Martin’s “Q Division.” If you think that sounds very James Bondish, you’re right. Clarke isn’t willing to give specific details about the kind of requests Q Division has granted, due to confidentiality agreements, but he does say, “Everything is possible. We would never say no to a request.”
The James Bond franchise has played a significant role in the branding of Aston Mart in. Bond has driven a variety of Aston Martin models in the past 50 years, and in the latest film, SkyFall, we find him behind the wheel of a DB5.
“We don’t pay for product placement,” Clarke says about the Bond movies. “We’ve got a very good relationship with the Broccolis, the family behind the franchise. We’ve worked with them for many years. When they’re working on a new movie, we talk with them to see where we can help, and what fits with their story.”
In a couple of the prior Bond movies, the super spy drove an Aston Martin DBS. “When they were working on that movie, the DBS was just a sketch,” Clarke says about the 2006 Bond film, Casino Royale. “[The Broccolis] saw the sketch on our wall and decided that was the one they would put in the movie. We actually launched that car in the movie.”
The partnership between Bond and Aston Marin is mutually beneficial, Clarke notes. “And in parts of the world like Asia, if it weren’t for James Bond, far less people would have heard of us. This helps us build global brand awareness, and the relationship between James Bond and Aston Martin seems to be a very natural one.”
Besides the “British Secret Service,” who else is interested in buying an Aston Martin?
Clarke says most buyers are male, self-made, understated and affluent.
The way these buyers think of a vehicle purchase is what sets them apart from most drivers. “We don’t compete with other car manufacturers,” Clarke explains. “It’s not like they’re walking into our dealerships and trying to make a choice between an Aston Martin and another vehicle. They’re picking between an Aston Martin and perhaps buying a piece of art, a boat or a piece of property. It’s a very different mindset.”
Buying an Aston Martin is an emotional decision. “They’re not buying it to get from point A to point B,” Clarke adds. “Our customers have a garage full of vehicles, and they’re thinking, ‘This is my reward this year. So should I buy that property in Spain, invest in some art or buy the Aston Martin?’ ”
Most car aficionados would agree – buy the Aston Martin!