Aston Martin to Create New ‘Design Lab’ in Shanghai as Part of £600 Million Trade Drive in China
Aston Martin is planning a five-year trade and investment drive in China worth over £600 million as part of its expansion in what is currently the world’s largest automotive market.
The five-year plan was announced by the company’s CEO, Dr Andy Palmer, during a visit last week to China by a UK business delegation that also included the British Prime Minister.
As part of the plan, the luxury carmaker will be investing in a new design and innovation centre – to be dubbed the “Aston Martin Design Lab” – at Tongji University, which is currently headed by Prof. Dr, Lou Yongqi, who is described as a “leading figure” in sustainable interdisciplinary design education.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for Aston Martin, collaborating with industry leaders and talented students in China will ensure we are focused on the needs of our Chinese customers,” said Aston Martin’s design boss, Marek Reichman, who will also become a visiting professor at the Shanghai-based academic institution.
Beyond design, the British manufacturer’s newly-revealed five-year business plan includes a dealer investment and expansion programme in the Chinese market totalling over £20 million.
By the end of 2018, Aston Martin says it will have strengthened its dealer network with 10 new and refurbished locations, thereby taking the company’s total retail footprint across China to more than 20 locations.
As well as new showroom in Tianjin, Nanjing and Ji’nan, a new 500m2 two-floor showroom is also planned for Wuhan, which has been projected to be China’s third largest city economy by 2025.
This latest export and investment drive follows a year on year sales rise of 89% in China, which was largely propelled by the introduction of the DB11.
Speaking in Beijing, Palmer said: “Our impressive 2017 performance in China reflects increasing demand for our new and special vehicles. The continued roll-out of our new model pipeline, including the company’s first electric vehicle in 2019, will further improve Aston Martin’s market share in this key market, alongside investments we are making to strengthen brand visibility and sales performance.”
Future demand in China is expected to be enhanced this year by deliveries of the new Vantage and in 2019, with the introduction of Aston Martin’s first SUV.
In 2017, the luxury car brand sold a total of 5,117 vehicles – its highest full-year sales volumes in nine years, which was driven by rising demand in North America, the UK and, of course, China.