The current economic crisis has spread havoc across local and global markets. There can be no place for doubt that certain automobile manufacturers and retailers would also suffer to some extent from the catastrophe. The car industry is a huge entity that has several different subdivisions, and it is quite intriguing to see how consumer behaviour shifts across these sublevels of the automobile market and how different brands engage in dealing with the arising instability. Aston Martin is one of the most famous UK brands and one of the top marquees for top-end sports cars in the entire world. Established in 1914 by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford, Aston Martin, has gone through a lot and many changes have occurred in its history including the change of ownership several times most recently in 2007, which also happens to be the company’s most successful year of sales when it brought 7300 cars to the roads. Today the UK car manufacturer proudly occupies one of the leading positions in the market for luxury vehicles and seems like it is planning to expand further from that. When it comes to assessing socio-cultural factors that determine the external environment of Aston Martin one has to understand this is a company that exists on an international level. It has over 100 dealerships in about thirty countries around the globe including the US, Russia, Japan, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, China (Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd). Apart from the fact that it would be extremely difficult to collect and process socio-cultural information about possible clients in these countries, a company that deals with top-end car manufacturing is certainly not targeting the average household, or any group of people that can be denoted by a common feature other than wealth. The percentage of people that possess the spending power to buy an Aston Martin is rather low anywhere around the world. Buyers of such cars occupy the higher levels of society in most countries but of course for Aston Martin it would be most profitable to establish a dealership in areas with high concentration of people with the ability and willingness to spend; example of areas of such potential are Monaco, Kuwait, and Dubai. It is a fact that the Middle East has GDP rates rising higher than anywhere else on the planet, and chief executive Ulrich Bez has taken that into account when developing the company’s future growth plan (Bowker 2008, para. 5). Taking technology into consideration one can see that Aston Martin is a bit old-fashioned in terms of manufacturing, nevertheless that does not hinder their ability to combine discipline in crafting with innovative approach and creativity. Nowadays car engineering is split between mechanical and electronic engineering. Aston Martin emphasizes on the use of manual labour to get the job done, whereas their counterparts from Porsche rely on the precision of computers in the assembly of their cars. Unquestionably Aston Martin strives to utilize every unit of input in order to create perfection as a final product. Their cars represent a splendid blend of heritage and innovation in terms of design and vision, and also excel when it comes to performance on the road. Undeniably Aston Martin’s headquarters at Gaydon in the UK is one of the finest car production facilities in the world. At Gaydon Aston Martins are being assembled manually bit by bit to create a masterpiece (Aston Martin Lagonda Limited). The “heart” of every car is its engine, and engines for Aston Martins are primarily V8 and V12, which are all products of the specialised Niehl Engine Plant that was build during the Ford regime in Cologne, Germany. Presently Aston Martin engines are still being produced at the factory in Cologne; however, recent news of a deal between Mercedes-Benz and Aston Martin (Kacher 2008) has caused speculations about the use of Mercedes-built engines in the new Astons, which would definitely be an upgrade for the British car manufacturer.
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