Walton is the former vice president of Aston Martin North America, back when the luxury automaker was still owned by Ford. Under Walton’s tenure, Aston Martin’s sales in North America grew from a negligible 200 units in 2001 to over 2,400 units in 2007, establishing the region as Aston Martin’s largest market.
Walton’s relationship with Spyker CEO Victor Muller goes back some 16 years, and Muller admits that he’s hoped to hire Walton since Spyker was founded in 2000. The reason why is no mystery: if Spyker is to succeed, the North American market is essential to its growth.
Few other automotive executives can boast the success in marketing a high-end luxury sports car to consumers that Walton can, and it’s assumed he’ll be able to do the same with Spyker. The Swedish company certainly represents more of a challenge for Walton, as Aston Martin was a better-established brand with little baggage to overcome.
If Walton is to succeed in his mission, job one in attracting customers will be to provide some level of assurance that Spyker is financially healthy. The distraction of Spyker’s recent lawsuit against GM won’t make his job any easier, and then there’s the issue of an aging product line to address.
Still, if anyone can pull a rabbit from the Spyker top hat, it’s John Walton. We wish him much success in his new role.