Aston Martin: From Bond To Beijing

Luxury UK Carmaker Opens Massive Flagship Store On Beijing’s Jinbao Road, The Largest Aston Martin Dealership In Asia

The new 500 sq.m Aston Martin flagship store will display seven of luxury vehicles worth roughly 1.3 million yuan each

The new 500 sq.m Aston Martin flagship store will display seven of luxury vehicles worth roughly 1.3 million yuan each

Beijing’s Jinbao Street is apparently the place to be for the world’s top luxury automakers. Last year, Bugatti opened its first showroom outside of France there, choosing the location specifically because of its swanky reputation and proximity to Beijing’s central business district. Kuo Chung, President of Bugatti China said at the ribbon-cutting event that the opening of this showroom was meant to show his company’s “confidence in China’s luxury car market.” Sharing Kuo’s confidence, this week UK automaker Aston Martin opened its new flagship store on 66 Jinbao Street. This colossal showroom, more than twice as large as Beijing’s two other Aston Martin dealerships, is also the largest location in the entire Asia-Pacific region.

As China Daily, covering the opening of the new flagship location, points out, the timing of this launch is meant to coincide with the upcoming Spring Festival — one of the most important holidays on the Chinese calendar:

“(Beijing) is a representation of the history of China, of the life in China, and this is why we are here,” CEO of Aston Martin, Ulrich Bez told METRO yesterday.

Despite the economic recession’s impact on luxury good sales, Bez said Aston Martin continues to expand worldwide and the Asia market is one of the fastest growing.

“Whatever the situation is in the economy if you have a great product, you will be successful and if you have a bad product you will suffer,” he said.

The decision to open the new store was heavily influenced by the upcoming Spring Festival celebrations, said Matthew Bennett, regional director for Aston Martin Asia-Pacific.

Some markets come alive at different times of the year. This time of year is when Beijing is at its most lively, said Bennett.

Soon Beijing will be one of the largest markets and they wanted to be well represented here, he said.

“Not to be represented in the main capital of the premier Asian market, which is going to become the premier world market, would be a mistake,” Bennett said.

Chinese media is calling the Rapide "Aston Martin's response to the Porsche Panamera"

Chinese media is calling the Rapide "Aston Martin's response to the Porsche Panamera"

Aston Martin also used the occasion of the opening of their flagship China store to unveil the company’s newest model, the Rapide, to the Asia market. This four-door sedan — the first ever produced by Aston Martin — which premiered in western markets earlier this month, should be a hit in the Chinese market. As we wrote earlier this month, for Chinese auto consumers at the highest end, who tend to be older and prefer to hire drivers rather than drive themselves, bigger (and more ostentatious) is better, and the Rapide’s price point, at 3,688,000 RMB (US$540,215), is comparable to other luxury vehicles like the Bentley Continental Flying Spur and Porsche Panamera.

As Aston Martin CEO Ulrich Bez recently told a reporter in the United Arab Emirates, the Rapide is designed to combine sports car performance with a cavernous interior. Though it’s hard to tell if wealthy, middle-aged Chinese car buyers will choose the Rapide over other popular, and huge, models like the Rolls-Royce Ghost or extended Mercedes-Benz E Class, the existing popularity of Aston Martin in Beijing (the city accounted for half of all Aston Martin China sales in 2009), and the company’s flashy new flagship store could give it an edge over the high-end competition in 2010.

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