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Aston Aspirations

Owning the car of James Bond has long been a driver's dream. Now the maker of Aston Martin sets its own lofty goal: turn a profit
Paul A. Eisenstein
From the Print Edition:
Greg Raymer, Sept/Oct 2004

(continued from page 3)

While a number of the more mainstream luxury car brands have moved into Aston territory in recent years, the AM305 will take the British marque down-market, and is expected to be priced to compete with the top-end 911 Turbo model. At around $100,000, that's still pretty rarified air, but Bez is quite confident that there's room to move as many as 3,500 copies of the new car annually. About half that demand is expected to come from the United States.

Bez says that if he hits his target, that would boost Aston's total sales to around 5,000 annually, slightly more than Italian rival Ferrari. Still exclusive in the global scheme of things, but a far cry from the 22 sports cars the company sold just a few years back. And no one needs to ply wary buyers with wine anymore.

The CEO quickly adds that even if volumes leveled off at just 3,500 vehicles, Aston would be operating comfortably in the black. For those who've followed the ups and mostly downs of this very British automaker, that might seem almost sacrilegious. But Bez is confident, if not smug. "After all these years," he says, "always struggling to be a survivor, always counting on rich investors to save it for a couple more years, we have finally made Aston the brand it deserved to be. It now has both a history—and a future."

Paul A. Eisenstein publishes an automobile magazine on the Internet at

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