Aston Martin is going after Tesla buyers who want more luxury and track performance, says CEO
Two years ago, Aston Martin announced that its first all-electric car effort when it unveiled a prototype of a Rapide converted with an all-electric drivetrain, the ‘RapidE’.
Now Andy Palmer, the British automaker’s CEO, elaborated on how he sees the vehicle’s position in the luxury segment – and compared it to Tesla.
They didn’t release any new spec on the car, but when first unveiling the prototype vehicle, Palmer said that they are aiming for it to be all-wheel-drive with over 200 miles of range, 800+ hp and is expected to retail for $200,000 to $250,000.
In an interview with Car and Driver last week, Palmer compared the vehicle to Tesla:
“For me Tesla is a very credible competitor in the premium market, against Daimler, BMW, Audi, and the others. But they’re not in the [upper reaches of the] luxury market where we are. Most of the people who buy a Model S are buying it fully loaded. They’re not limited by their cash; they’re limited by the offer. They’re not a competitor of ours. We’re looking to those people looking for something above Tesla. That customer probably isn’t looking for Ludicrous mode. Our offer will have very credible acceleration, equal to a gasoline Aston Martin, but you’ll be able to drive the car rapidly all the way around the Nürburgring without it derating or conking out on you.”
Earlier this year, the automaker confirmed that they will bring the vehicle to production for a limited run of 155 cars in 2019. Palmer confirmed they have already received reservations for all 155 cars.
I’ll have to disagree with Palmer’s claim that “most of the people who buy a Model S are buying it fully loaded.”
While it’s true that Tesla’s top-of-the-line versions of the Model S are popular, they are not the “most” popular versions of Tesla’s all-electric sedan.
According to a source familiar with Tesla’s sales, the most popular trim of the Model S this year is the 75D, which was made the entry-level version earlier this year. Between the both of them, the 100D and P100D versions are coming close, but they are not there yet.
To be fair, Tesla says that they had production issues with the 100 kWh battery pack earlier this year, which could have had an impact.
Regardless, it’s not true that “most of the people who buy a Model S are buying it fully loaded.”
With this said, the rest of what he said makes sense. Tesla does attract a certain type of customers who have no issue with the price and they just want to the top performance and luxury level.
Again, they don’t represent “most” of Tesla’s Model S customers, but there are several thousands of them and it sounds like Aston Martin aims to offer them an upgrade with the RapidE.
There’s certainly room for improvements, especially in terms of track performance. If Aston Martin can really deliver an all-electric sedan that can speed around Nürburgring for a few laps and combine that with the level of luxury they are known for, I am sure the vehicle will find success in the higher-end of the luxury segment.