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Rapide numbers worrying Aston

2011-06-21 07:12

DOWNCAST PROSPECTS: Component suppliers have been told by Aston that its current inventory of Rapide parts is quite sufficient, pointing to dismal sales of the striking four-door coupe.

It’s may be the world’s most striking four-door car but Aston Martin’s Rapide is not selling quite as well as the British brand had planned.

It was conceptualised back in 2008 and contracted to be built at Magna-Steyr’s facility in Austria – known for its quality service and impeccable industrial engineering but also for its high labour costs.

Aston did not, at the time, have capacity for another line at its plant in Gaydon, England; with sales projected as 2000 a year the cost of shifting production to Austria was seen as justified.

SALES LAGGING AT TWO-THIRDS

Currently, though, Aston is only placing Rapide badges on 25 cars a week - 700 short of the annual target. Aston Martin's sales are down by nearly half.

The financial crisis of 2009 was particularly challenging for Aston Martin and the Rapide has suffered accordingly – ironically, while Porsche’s rather aesthetically less desirable Panamera has shattered sales expectations in the premium four-door coupe market.

Now Aston is desperate to move Rapide production back to Gaydon, where lower global demand for all Aston Martin’s models has created capacity to produce the lower number of Rapides on order.

There is a catch. Magna-Steyr’s contract to produce the Rapide is for eight years; Aston Martin will be required to pay a contract cancellation fee equivalent to R100-million for pulling out six years early.
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