Aston Martin sales rev up on higher prices, more profitable cars

By Nick Carey

LONDON (Reuters) -Aston Martin narrowed its annual loss in 2021 as sales surged and the company said on Wednesday it expected further improvements this year as it launches new, more profitable models and plans to raise prices across its model line-up.

The British luxury carmaker said it expected to see sales rise again in 2022, despite ongoing global supply chain disruptions that have accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company said last month its core earnings for 2021 were affected by delays in shipments of its limited-edition Valkyrie sports car.

It said on Wednesday it expected to ship between 75 and 90 Valkyries in 2022.

The carmaker added it planned to launch its first fully-electric vehicle in 2025 and that as of 2026 all new car lines would have an electric option.

Fictional secret agent James Bond’s car brand of choice has had a tough time since floating in 2018, failing to meet expectations and burning through cash, prompting it to bring in fresh investment from billionaire Lawrence Stroll in 2020, who now serves as the company’s executive chairman.

“We have successfully transitioned our operating model to that of an ultra-luxury performance brand, with customer demand well ahead of supply,” Stroll said in a statement. “Our core business is strong and delivered to plan, with substantially improved profitability.”

The first two new vehicles produced by Aston Martin’s new management – the DBX707, a luxury SUV, and the V12 Vantage, a powerful sports car – will be launched this year “with improved profitability compared with prior models,” the company said.

Aston Martin said it had started incorporating technology from shareholder Mercedes-Benz, which increased its stake in the struggling carmaker in 2020, but added there were “currently no plans to issue additional shares” to the German carmaker until early 2023.

That deal in 2020 expanded an existing supply agreement to give Aston Martin access to key Mercedes’ technology, including hybrid and electric drive systems.

Aston Martin reported an operating loss of 76.5 million pounds ($104 million) for 2021, versus 323 million pounds the previous year, as sales jumped 82% to nearly 6,200 units.

($1 = 0.7359 pounds)

(Reporting by Nick Carey Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Mark Potter)