Monday, March 30, 2009

Aston Martin Unseats the Veyron as the World's Most Expensive Car

While India builds the world’s cheapest car, Warwickshire in England builds the world’s most expensive one. While one has a 624 cc engine the other has a 7 liter one. While a million of one is supposed to be made in the first year itself, only seventy seven of the other will ever be built. The marketing strategies also will have to be different. In one case people are already standing in a queue to book, in the other case the company is lining up prospective buyers to whom they should be pitching the car. While one will be assembled at the dealer’s workshops the other will be entirely custom made.

Having already been dethroned as the fastest car on the planet, the $1.4 million Veyron and its more expensive roadster sibling are no longer the world's most expensive rides. That title now rests with the One-77, the $2.3 million hand-made coupe Aston Martin will sell next year. No more than 77 will be built, a figure that makes Bugatti's run of 300 Veyrons look mass-market and just beats the 80 Veyron roadsters in exclusivity. A British bookie already is laying odds on who'll get the first one.

Paying $2.3 million for anything that doesn't have wings is beyond excessive, but then, those few who get a One-77 aren't buying a car. They are, according to Aston Martin, buying An Experience. Autocar says buyers will be invited to the factory in Gaydon, where they'll meet with designers and engineers to develop the car to their exact specifications.

"It's a very special car for customers who want to take the bespoke experience to a higher level," company chairman David Richard told Autocar. "Every car will be entirely individual."

Aston Martin isn't saying much about the One-77, a code name for the as-yet-unnamed coupe, but the project started about 15 months ago. The hand-hammered aluminum bodywork retains the general profile of the gorgeous DB9 but is more muscular. It covers a carbon fiber chassis and a 7.0-liter V12 engine said to produce 650 horsepower. Top speed is estimated at 220 mph and 60 mph arrives in 3.5 seconds.

Those figures are well short of the 253 mph and 2.5 seconds the Bugatti has hit, but Aston Martin CEO Ulrich Benz says the company isn't "doing a Veyron." Instead, the company's flagship will highlight its latest technology, raising the possibility future Astons will make greater use of carbon fiber and other advancements developed for the One-77.

The company reportedly has identified 500 or so potential customers and will bring a One-77 to their homes - when you're spending that kind of money, you aren't expected to actually visit a showroom. So who's on the list? The bookies at William Hill Casinos have opened betting and David Beckham is their 9-4 favorite to be first in line. Singer Jay Kay of Jamiroquai is second at 3-1, while the odds on Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich stand at 7-2.

As for Aston Martin's decision to build just 77, it's said to have stemmed from Bez's belief that seven is a lucky number. It certainly is for those fortunate enough to get one.

Contributed By:
Prof. P. Guha
(Globsyn Business School)

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