It looks as if Aston Martin Rapide sales are running at half those Aston expected, with predictions they could fall as low as 500 cars a year.
The general consensus was that the Rapide was something of a triumph for Aston Martin. They’d managed to squeeze an extra pair of doors in to a stretched DB9 and made the back seats of the Rapid just about commodious enough to be useable. Well, if you were under 6′, anyway.
A nice jaunt for the world’s journalists to the Iberian peninsula to eat, drink, make merry and drive the beautiful Rapide along delightful roads meant a plethora of appreciative reviews, and more words of praise for the Rapide than even Aston Martin could have hoped for.
And expectations for sales were high, despite the dip in the world economy since the Rapide was conceived. Aston Martin hoped to sell around 2,000 cars a year to rich car lovers around the world, and they pitched the price at £140,000. Which was a lot.
That price has now risen to nearly £160k for the Rapide with an auto ‘box, and it seems that the high price may be having a big effect on sales.
Instead of the 2,000 cars a year Aston had banked on it looks like the Rapide is managing around half that. Aston has taken manufacturing back from Magna Steyr (although it will take a year to transition) to keep the production lines at Gaydon active, but with some in the industry predicting Rapide sales falling as low as 500 cars a year, it might not help much.
No doubt the price is a big factor for Rapide sales. Beauty can always make wise men go weak at the knees, but when the Aston Martin Rapide costs £40,000 more than the better built, more commodious, quicker and better to drive Porsche Panamera Turbo, even the beauty of the Rapide struggles to convince.
That the Rapide is also £70k more than the range-topping Maserati Quattroporte GTS and a remarkable £30k more than the Bentley Flying Spur just illustrates how ‘hopefuAston Martin’s prices have got.
It’s starting to look as if the Rapide – based on a decade-old chassis with a Ford Mondeo derived engine – is simply pricing itself out of the market. It’s too expensive, too short on room and too slow. It also feels a bit too focused on design rather than usability.
But it’s still drop-dead gorgeous.