British luxury car specialist Aston Martin raised $US305 million in funding — last week — to develop a new generation of luxury cars.
One of the cars at the heart of this plan is the DBX.
First introduced earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show, the Aston Martin DBX Concept is a striking and somewhat controversial all-electric GT crossover.
Love it, like it, or hate it, no one really expected the crossover to be much more than a conceptual exploration into a niche market.
Obviously, Aston Martin believes that the DBX has the potential to be much much more than that.
“The DBX concept, has generated interest far beyond our expectations,” Aston Martin Lagonda CEO Dr. Andy Palmer said in a statement. “The additional investment announced today will allow us to realise the DBX and other new luxury vehicles that will form the strongest and most diverse portfolio in our history.”
Even more interesting, Aston Martin plans on keeping the all-electric powertrain from the show car, but a company spokesperson emphasised in an email to Business Insider that it’s still early in the development process.
The DBX concept came equipped with drive-by-wire steering, auto-dimming smart glass, and a set of bespoke driver and passenger heads-up displays.
There’s no word how many of the futuristic gadgets from the show car will make it to the production car.
But will the DBX work as a production car in the same way as it did on the show stand? After all, we’ve seen our fair share car show starlets that don’t pan out.
One obstacle the DBX will likely have to face is its striking styling. Sure, the DBX has the sleek body lines we have come to expect from an Aston Martin GT car. But, the crossover throws off the traditional GT aesthetic by adding the the ground clearance of an SUV.
Yes, the crossover is everyone’s favourite type of vehicle at the moment. However, most of the cars in this genre are more like traditional boxy SUVs than low-slung sports cars.
Then again, the growing success of BMW’s X6 Sport Utility Coupe is a signal that there could be demand for a swoopy crossover.
For a major international car maker, such as BMW, spending hundreds of millions to develop an adventurous crossover is a risk that can be justified.
But Aston isn’t a big multinational.
Since Ford sold off the boutique sports car maker in 2007, Aston has been under the control of a group of private equity investors from Italy and Kuwait. This makes Aston one of just a handful of major auto brands not under the direct control of a big global firm — other independents include McLaren and Tesla.
According to Aston Martin, the latest round of fund raising comes in the form of preference shares, half of which were issued on April 29, with the remaining — already subscribed for — to be issued in the next twelve months.