The expansion of Aston Martin’s global dealership network is all set to continue with a move into China for the first time in the company’s 94-year history. The Aston Martin franchise has been awarded to GruppeM, led by CEO Kenny Chen, who has unparalleled experience of the luxury sports car market in China.

The first new showroom will be in Shanghai’s Xin Tian Di District, with an area designed to accommodate five cars. The Shanghai Aston Martin Retail Centre will be the country’s flagship dealer space. There will also be an exclusive Aston Martin service facility located close to Hongqiao airport.

In Beijing, a showroom for three cars will be located in the city’s Central Business District, a fast-expanding area that contains some dramatic new architecture.  The showroom will be accompanied by the Aston Martin Beijing Service Facility, located at the city’s Goldenport race circuit.

The market for luxury goods in China was worth $6bn in 2004, and has developed rapidly since.  However, Dr Ulrich Bez, Aston Martin’s Chief Executive Officer, explained that it was important to wait until the right partner was found.  “Aston Martin has been carefully monitoring the growth of the luxury sports car market in China,” he said, “but it was vital that we found the right partner who not only understood Aston Martin’s brand values but also the luxury market.   We are confident that GruppeM have the expertise and knowledge to help us develop Aston Martin in China.”

Aston Martin is well placed for the emerging generation of young, aspirational Chinese consumers, who seek reliable, recognised brands that also have a forward-looking, innovative image. Casino Royale, featuring the recently launched Aston Martin DBS, was the first James Bond film to be released throughout China, and brand awareness is correspondingly high. Seen for the first time in the film,the DBS is the ultimate expression of Aston Martin’s engineering and technical ability.  It offers pure performance without compromise. It delivers the complete driving experience and bridges the gap between the road and track cars - the DB9 and DBR9.

The company’s global dealership programme features an award-winning series of designs inspired by Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion. Aston Martin currently has 120 dealers in 28 countries around the world and in addition to Shanghai and Beijing, recent openings include Cape Town and Bordeaux.

Kenny Chen, GruppeM Chief Executive Officer, said of the appointment: “We feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to represent Aston Martin in China during this exciting time in the company’s history.  I have always had a passion for the brand which, combined with our knowledge of the luxury automobile market, will enable us to bring a very personal touch to the business.”

GruppeM has also invested heavily in racing in the region and has recently launched an exclusive members-only organisation, G1 Club, aimed at sports car enthusiasts interested in experiencing a broad collection of high-performance cars. G1 Club will also be introducing the idea of the Track Day to China, arranging venues and publicity for racing enthusiasts to experience their own car on a real circuit.

Published : 28/11/07 Author : Melanie Carter

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