Aston Martin boss Ulrich Bez has told CAR Online he wants to evolve the firm's distinctive design 'for the next 20 years'. The company hopes to repeat the success of the timeless Porsche 911.
The next generation of Astons will be styled at the company's new design studio, due to open on 11 December 2007. A product announcement is expected on the same day; the company is likely to confirm new partnerships for merchandising and it's expected to announce tweaks to an existing model range, too.
Dr Bez cancelled the original blueprint for the new design centre at Gaydon, which he described as too derivative. He then met an architect with an interest in sustainable eco-design, and commissioned him to draw up fresh plans for the new site.
It will use natural materials imported from Austria, and is understood to be made largely from glass and wood for a light, airy atmosphere for Aston Martin's design team led by director Marek Reichman.
The whole design centre project took just six months, Dr Bez told CAR Online. 'This would not have been possible under Ford,' he said. 'We are now able to move much more quickly. It's like the speed at which we said yes to the Rapide.'
Bez went on to talk about a 'careful design evolution of the current shape' for the next 20 years - in the vein of the incremental development of the 911. Aston designers know they have carved out a successful style for themselves - even if the V8 Vantage, DB9 and recently departed Vanquish look incredibly similar.
So expect more of the same from the newly independent Aston. If fast-track decision-making and all-new product like the Rapide are hallmarks of the new management, the sports car maker looks in rude health. But it remains to be seen how Aston Martin will afford to develop all-new products to replace its current line-up without the financial clout of a global car maker behind it.
Words: Tim Pollard