Iconic sports car manufacturer Aston Martin is looking to source from India. Or, for the sake of accuracy, the brand is looking to source more from India, since the recently-unveiled Vantage already carries some Indian components.
Under the leadership of Andy Palmer – who took charge as CEO a little over three-and-a-half years ago – Aston Martin is scouting for suppliers who can help the OEM enhance its cost efficiencies, and thereby support its next phase of the growth plan. So if you are a component maker with the high ambition of adding an exclusive brand or two to your portfolio of customers, here's your chance.
"It starts on the new models. It doesn’t go on to the retrospect models. So, it is on all the new models, you will see some Indian content," Palmer told our sister publication, Autocar Professional, in an exclusive interview.
Thanks to his earlier stint at Nissan, Palmer knows the Indian automotive industry fairly well. The CEO also played an instrumental role in the Japanese OEM's joint-venture with Hinduja Group-owned Ashok Leyland. As a result, Aston Martin has engaged the Hinduja Group's engineering services arm Hinduja Tech in certain engineering activities as well, as a way to identify suppliers of competitively priced components meeting Aston Martin's quality specs.
"One of the things I asked when I came was (for) some parts; the quality and cost is better coming from India. I asked my purchasing department to be more open-minded about supply. Through Hinduja Tech and some other help, we have started to source parts from India and are also looking to do some of the engineering in India," says Palmer. The sourcing process began in India about two years ago and is growing progressively. Now, more parts can now be engineered in and sourced from the country, with casting components being key.
According to an existing supplier to Aston Martin, manufacturing at the Gaydon, UK-headquartered carmaker is a "beautiful blend of technology and old-world artisanship". He also says that the sourcing strategy over the years has been influenced by the changes in Aston Martin's ownership.
The first time after 2010, Aston Martin reported a profit-before-tax figure of £87 million on sales of 5,117 cars – an impressive 58 percent more than in 2016. "We have turned it around. Now, we need to grow it," says Palmer.
With the British carmaker's financial problems getting solved, Palmer wants to accelerate on product portfolio expansion to make Aston Martin a "sustainable car company".
This new push will begin in 2019. The most crucial one, perhaps, will be the production-ready DBX concept – Aston Martin's first SUV – followed by a mid-engined model to race against the Ferrari 488. This will be followed by the revival of the Lagonda – this time as an electric super-luxury car ready to be pitched against the likes of Bentley and Rolls-Royce.
Aston Martin plans to launch seven models in seven years, each with a life of seven years. That's good news for sports and luxury car aficionados.