The next 12 months are shaping up to be the most successful period ever, in terms of sales, for legendary British marque Aston Martin. Analysts expect sales to top 6,500 units this year following from a previous high of 5,000 vehicles for the past year. With figures like these it’s hard to imagine that just over a decade ago Aston Martin was at the brink of bankruptcy.
Back in 1992, Aston built only 46 vehicles in the days when it specialized in purely exclusive hand-crafted sport carriages. After the acquisition by the Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F] of 75 percent of Aston Martin's shares back in 1987, and its subsequent full purchase in 1993, the niche automaker was never going to be the same.
The introduction of the DB7 in the mid '90s marked a turnaround for the company, with sales for that model alone totalling 5,000 units over its life. At its release, the DB7 was considered one of the most beautiful cars of all time and is considered by some still to this day. Ford’s new investment and manufacturing techniques allowed Aston Martin to build and sell more cars in the last 20 years than it had over its entire life prior.
After the stunning success of the DB7, Aston Martin gained the confidence to produce a whole range of new performance coupes, mostly based on one highly configurable "VH" platform. This saw the introduction of new models including the successor to the DB7, the DB9, plus the Vanquish flagship and the latest Vantage. Aston Martin is even developing a new sedan and another performance coupe in the form of the Rapide and DBS respectively.
Despite this success, Ford has confirmed that it will drop Aston Martin from its Premier Automotive Group. Bill Ford recently stated that Ford is “exploring its strategic options" for the automaker. This is in addition to the news that Ford may drop Jaguar and Land Rover, also part of the PAG.