Aston Martin, like many automakers, is quite proud of its history, and while I'm sure that their vision of themselves is one of Sean Connery leaning against his 1964 DB5, I see Aston Martin as a big heap of heartbreak.
Because over their 107-year history, Aston Martin has gone bankrupt seven times, and has the economic prospects of a needy dog. But despite that, all of Aston's customers see themselves as Sean Connery, and while that isn't necessarily the case, Aston Martin is probably the greatest automaker for all time.
Or at least they were.
In the supercar world, there are three kinds of buyers; there's the person who wants everyone to know that they're rather wealthy, that's a Ferrari customer. There's the person who enjoys driving, but at the same time wants to make a whole lot of noise about it, that's a Lamborghini customer. There's also the person who actually gives a damn about driving, and they will revel in the techno-speed geekery of the McLaren 720s.
But the customer that nobody thinks about is the one who doesn't give a damn about lap times, attention, or even speed, that person, well that person will buy an Aston Martin.
Or at least they used to.
Because Aston Martins have never been any good when it comes to the numbers, because while every single Aston made in the last 20 years has been bight the back of your hand beautiful, few of them have actually been any good.
The Vanquish had a lazy butler for a transmission, the Vantage had more Ford parts than the new F-150, and the DB9 had an engine that was made from two Ford V6s. And while a Ferrari would cost you just $150,000 an Aston Martin would be slower, softer, and twice as expensive.
And while I believe that the V12 Vantage is perhaps the best car ever made, Aston Martins have never made much sense, and they shouldn't.
But the 'modern' Aston Martin disagrees, the 'modern' Aston Martin believes that it can be techy. Hence, the new range of Astons have turbochargers, last-generation Mercedes technology, an AMG V8, and high-tech aerodynamic trickery.
But that hasn't worked
Aston Martin don't know their own customers, nobody has ever walked into a showroom and bought an Aston Martin because it was faster, more advanced, or in any way better than a Ferrari. People used to buy Aston Martins because they were gob-smackingly beautiful, and because of the heavenly noise that came out of the back.
More to the point, Aston Martin was almost successful in 2017, they had a range of 20-year-old cars, and while people were willing to pay $278,000 over sticker for a manual Porsche 911, Aston was the last automaker in history to offer a manual transmission with a V12 engine.
Aston Martin managed to fail into success, people began to realize that they needn't go from 0-60 in 2.8 seconds and that 3.9 seconds was plenty fast enough. But unfortunately, in 2017, Aston Martin embarked on its "Second Century Plan," which was supposed to bring the company into the modern age, an era filled with profits and success.
But throughout that process Aston seems to have lost its 'magic'.
The new Vantage looks a bit odd and drives like a Mercedes, the DB11 is gorgeous but has no real place in my heart, and while the DBS has 715 horsepower, it just doesn't do it for me. Because if Aston's new sales pitch is performance, I'd just go out and buy a Ferrari or a McLaren instead.
Because nobody buys an Aston for its performance.
Aston Martin is running out of money
Aston Martin is a company that has gone bankrupt more times than Donald Trump and has made going bust a part of its 'Brand Identity,' and despite a nearly £500 million investment earlier this year, the future isn't looking bright for 007's favorite automaker.
Back in January of 2019, Aston Martin made their first-ever debut on the public stock exchange, and while CEO Andy Palmer touted financial glory, the stock is now worth $0.60, 27 times less than its initial value of $16.00.
And over that same amount of time, Ferrari's stock price has damn near doubled, despite the recent economic turmoil.
All of this points to yet another bankruptcy, and while it is sad, after over £100 million in losses in 2019 alone, time is running out for Aston Martin. So the question that immediately comes to mind is, "who will buy them?"
And to be honest, I have no idea, it could be anybody or anything, because over its 107-year history Aston Martin has been owned by Ford, Volvo, the Saudis, and a bunch of wealthy men who wanted to be James Bond.
Who knows, it could even be you. I doubt it's terribly expensive.