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Wednesday, March 21, 2007


In the two decades ending in the late 80's, Aston Martin had produced about 5,000 cars. Or, to put it another way, not as many cars in 20 years as Camrys sold in America in a week.

Now, fortunately for Aston, exclusivity and exotica go hand in hand with expense. Because a typical Aston Martin costs 5 or 10 times as much as the aforementioned Toyota Camry, selling fewer cars still makes for a reasonable business operation.

Aston Martin, recently sold by Ford after almost a couple decades of involvement, has a Porsche and BMW-bred boss, Dr. Ulrich Bez. Ulrich... or rather Dr. Bez, pardon - is an intelligent man. He says, "In 2000, we built 800 cars and if I had told you then that we would build 7,000 cars in 2006, you would have laughed at me." We may have, but, we would stop laughing now and admire the business model. A small lineup of the most beautiful cars; all sports-oriented; all purchased on emotional highs; all debuting to worldwide appreciation; all secondary stars to
007; all... you get the point.

Everybody likes a formerly forlorn British automaker that can complete a turnaround so impressive that money-losing Ford uses it to earn serious cash. Forty-score cars in 2000, 7 x 1000 this past year. That is an amazing rate of growth, and it is likely to hit a wall for two chief reasons: Aston Martin selling 5000 Vanquish's a week would be so very unexclusive and there are only so many consumers of $200,000 cars on this planet.

To make it nice and complicated, understand the point this way: to achieve the same growth spurt over a similar amount of time, Camry sales in the States would have risen to over 3 million. Put every person in the capital of Brazil in a Camry and you'd have it.

You can see why Ulrich...sorry, Dr. Bez, feels an connection with Toyota. Says he, "Toyota has carried out the same strategy that I introduced for Aston Martin in 2000. The foundation is quality, usability and reliability. Their strategy is very simple and they make very logical steps."
Beware, The Good Car Guy is on a long-term test drive (aka short vacation) starting the 22nd. Updates will be attempted. Check back regularly.

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