When Aston Martin debuted in China in 2008, Mercedes-Benz had a 16-year head start. Audi had already been there for two decades. Most high-end German brands were already established in joint ventures with local dealers, with a considerable market share.
But did that stop the British super-luxury auto maker? Not one bit. With specialized custom cars that cost up to five and seven times the price of high-end vehicles like BMWs and Audis (priced between 3 million yuan ($463,500) and 5.9 million yuan), Aston Martin is confident of its ability to succeed among China’s rich.
“Rich people have a fleet of cars, not just one,” said Aston Martin’s Asia Pacific director, Matthew Bennett. “If they like Aston Martin, fine, they will buy one; if they like Ferrari, fine, they can afford another car.”
Although only 100 Aston Martins were sold to Chinese buyers in 2010 (Aston Martin averages annual sales worldwide of 5,000-6,000 vehicles), there is a certain enthusiasm for this luxury car. During the Shanghai Auto Show, the company was flooded with inquiries and orders for the six models displayed.
“This was the only occasion that we needed to set an event fence and guards to keep the crowds at bay,” Bennett.
While more serious buyers may be a little less physically aggressive, their enthusiasm is no less than Auto Show-goers. Part of this enthusiasm may come from Chinese buyers’ age.
“The Chinese customers are younger than those in the United States and Europe,” Bennett said.
The relative youth of Chinese consumers may have an influence on their aesthetic choices. Bennett says Chinese customers prefer bright colors like red, green, and orange. And unlike many successful people who want to keep a low profile, Bennett says that Chinese customers are “more willing to reward themselves with the super luxury, fancy and attractive vehicles from [the Aston Martin] stable.”