EAST HAMPTON, NY -- You pull up to the club in your brand new 12-cyl.850 coupe and ... drat, everyone seems to be driving one. What's a refined multimillionaire to do? Ferraris are so obvious, and $120,000 Mercedes SL600s are so, well, common.
Here in the Hamptons, where you can spend $150,000 to $300,000 renting a home for the summer, this is a serious concern.
British supercar manufacturerLagonda Ltd. declares that it has the answer: its DB7 Coupe and Volante (convertible). Priced at $125,000 and $135,000, respectively (not including luxury and other taxes), the new cars allow you to make a classy and powerful statement about yourself without appearing too desperate or unimaginative.
After a hiatus of several years,once again is marketing vehicles in North America. "We want everyone to know we exist and that there is another dream car you can have," says Andy Watt, the recently appointed vice president and general manager of Aston Martin Lagonda of North America Inc. in Mahwah, NJ.
With the help of the sleek new DB7 and expanded dealer organization, theMotor Co. subsidiary hopes to sell 200 DB7 coupes and convertibles annually in North America -- about a third of total production.
The car, a front-engine, reardrive British sports car with a 335-hp supercharged engine, was introduced several years ago in Europe and is targeted at wealthy buyers desiring something more exclusive than a top-line Mercedes-Benz orcoupe, but less showy than a Ferrari or Lamborghini. The coupe picks up many styling cues from legendary predecessor models, especially the DB5, which became famous as James Bond's ejector-seat-equipped car in the movie Goldfinger.
More than half of this year's allocation of 200 cars already has been sold, even though no vehicles have been available for test drives.
bought 75% of Aston Martin in 1987 and the remaining shares in July 1994. The marque has sold a total of only 2,157 cars in North America since 1950, but company officials hope its relationship with Ford will enable it to carve out a special niche. There are no plans to share future platforms with Ford products, but Aston Martin is cutting costs and getting economies of scale by using some key parts from the Ford bin such as air conditioning units and switches. It also saved development costs on the DB7 by using an engine block and some body-in-white components from Jaguar, which also is owned by Ford.
Such cost-cutting, plus production efficiencies, allowed Aston Martin to chop about $20,000 off the original target price of the DB7, Mr. Watt says.