Aston Martin's "Most Important Car" is Actually A Dinosaur
For a long time, the Aston Martin was one of the coolest cars one could want to buy. James Bond's car of choice. But now the company is cash strapped and looking to grow their consumer base quickly through getting millennials to buy their cars.
It is launching "it's most important car" (the new DB11) to target young female drivers - specifically young rich millennial female drivers. Their new target customer is "Charlotte". She's a rich American female in her late 30s. When Aston Martin first began talking about the DB11 at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, CEO Andy Palmer noted that "She's a cool lady, she's an attractive lady".
I'm skeptical. Obviously I understand the 'rich' part. These cars aren't cheap to develop and produce. But what makes Aston Martin think it can attract millennials, specifically women, away from all the other options available?
In it's 102 year history, Aston Martin has reportedly only sold 70,000 cars, and only 3,500 of them to women. That's 0.5% in the entire history of the company. So they've got a mountain to climb when it comes to marketing cars to women, and that's no easy task either considering a lot of women aren't attracted to cars the same way men are.
But, have no fear! DB11 is definitely going to catch the eye of the cool and attractive Charlotte! How? By talking about shape, space and sound.
Hang on, what now? How is this different to how they market sports cars to men? It's not. A quick look at the website for the Mercedes S-Class shows that they're essentially using the same three principles to market their car. Same story for the Porsche 911 Carrera S and the BMW M6.
It's not that women don't buy sports cars - Aston Martin themselves have had female customers - but they're not a majority. So having a woman as your prototype customer is risky. However, trying to appeal to a consumer group which doesn't normally buy sports cars isn't Aston Martin's biggest problem.
The key problem is this: Aston Martin are selling flashy oil and diesel dino-cars in a market where everyone else is offering more innovative alternatives. I bet when Charlotte buys a car she's going to not really going to be thinking about shape, space and sound. It's probably more like: what's the gas mileage, is it environmentally friendly, and what's the technological innovation on this car that makes it special?
Aston Martin are planning to develop hybrid versions of their cars, but they're already way behind in the innovation game. Tesla's electric cars are already on the market and selling like hotcakes. Aston Martin's closest rivals on the lower end such as Mercedes and BMW have already integrated hybrid or other innovative environmentally friendly technologies into their range. On the supercar end, Porsche (with the 918) and McLaren (with the P1) are battling it out to see who has the fastest, most technologically advanced yet environmentally friendly cars. This is something consumers look for - it's not just about being a fast car with the best speakers or Bluetooth connection anymore.
Outside of the "environmentally friendly innovation" camp, Volvo has pledged to ensure that by the year 2020 they will reduce "the number of people that die or are seriously injured in road traffic accidents to zero" in their range of cars. If they are successful, we could see a lot of people flocking to Volvo dealerships.
So, what can the DB11 do? Go 200 miles per hour, fit two golf bags and two child seats. If I were Charlotte, I'd be saying, "What, that's all? NEXT!"