ASTON Martin is confident the reborn Lagonda brand will be well received in Australia and further afield when it returns to the market in 2022, providing its rich clientele with an unashamedly “disruptive” alternative to Rolls-Royce and Bentley.
Asked about its prospects in Australia, Aston Martin Lagonda vice-president and chief marketing officer Simon Sproule told GoAuto in Melbourne last week that the reborn brand’s repositioning as a high-tech, cutting-edge all-electric luxury marque handed it a strong opportunity for success.
“We looked at the market and we saw Rolls-Royce and Bentley as only two players in an albeit relatively small market but actually quite an important part of the luxury market – namely, large sedans and now, increasingly, large ultra-luxury SUVs,” he said.
“It’s quite unusual in the car business to only have two competitors in any given market, so we could see there was an opportunity for a third. When we looked at the opportunity, it was very clear that disruption was ready to happen to the segment.
“They (Rolls/Bentley) do what they do very well, but the world is changing and the rise of companies like Tesla, you see Porsche coming in with their SUVs and electric cars, so we took an opportunity to pivot with a brand that is a heritage brand – it’s 120 years old – but actually, for a lot of people, they don’t know it, they’ll be discovering it for the first time.
“So we had a pretty clean sheet of paper with Lagonda and we decided to go ‘all in’ – all-electric.
“There was a big debate inside the company: should be go hybrid, should we do this, that and the other, and in the end, we said the simplest way for a customer to understand what we’re doing with Lagonda is to say it is the world’s first and only – and it will be for a number of years – pure-electric luxury car brand.
“And we think there is a good opportunity in Australia.”
Aston Martin Lagonda Asia-Pacific president Patrik Nilsson told GoAuto that high levels of investment being made in electric vehicle infrastructure across the region was important ahead of the Lagonda launch here from 2022 onwards.
He also said he was confident customers in this region would appreciate the inherent quietness and interior accommodation that came with developing an all-electric ultra-luxury vehicle from the ground up.
“Absolutely, from an APAC point of view, we see a lot of investment going into charging points etc, and even here (in Australia) recently we’ve seen there’s been quite a significant investment in charging points and making this (move towards EVs) possible,” he said.
“I think it’s also great that we are future-proofing, in that sense, because we never know where legislation is going to go.
“But what I’m excited about with Lagonda is the freedom it gives us to do the interior of the car, for instance. By having that kind of structure, you not only get a most quiet and lovely luxury car, which is priority number one, you also get the roomiest.
“Sometimes people discuss, ‘Oh, you’re electrifying.’ But that’s not the story here. The story is we’re giving a greater luxury experience by going electric. And that stands on its own.
“So I see that absolutely working very well (in Australia).”
Mr Sproule would not be drawn on future segments and/or body styles for the Lagonda brand after the SUV and limousine, but areas traditionally occupied by brands such as Rolls-Royce and Bentley – most notably coupes and convertibles – are expected to be mined.
“If you look at the ultra-luxury segment today, it’s SUV, it’s big sedan, its coupe and convertible – (Rolls-Royce) Dawn and Wraith. The two largest segments are sedans and SUVs, so we’ve gone there first.
“It’s too early to comment on where we would go after that, but we are very pragmatic as businesspeople. If we see that a segment is there for us and it makes economic sense, then, you know, why not?”
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