x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Aston Martin separates from Al Habtoor

Aston Martin is set to reposition its brand in the UAE and end its relationship with Al Habtoor Motors after 20 years - with video.

Adham Charanoglu, the chief executive of Aston Martin in the region.
Adham Charanoglu, the chief executive of Aston Martin in the region.

Aston Martin is ending its relationship with Al Habtoor Motors after 20 years as the luxury British car maker repositions its brand in the UAE.

The move is part of a strategic expansion plan in the Middle East and North Africa to emphasise the company as a maker of luxury products and to increase sales in the region.

"The Middle East and North Africa is a key market," said Adham Charanoglu, the chief executive of Aston Martin in the region. "People at the factory realise how important the market is here."

As part of the regional expansion, millions of dirhams will be spent on showrooms in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, led by a new joint venture with a local dealer due to be named this year.

Mr Charanoglu said Aston Martin had enjoyed a long and fruitful partnership with Al Habtoor and was now working with the company to find what he called "rebranded representation" by the end of the year.

"It's not switching in the context of good or not good, but we believe we would rather see ourselves as a luxury brand, we are very thankful [for] everything Al Habtoor did for the Aston Martin brand in the UAE."

Car manufacturers have longstanding relationships with local businesses in the UAE where it is rare to see brands change partners. Al Habtoor was unavailable for comment.

"It's not the first time that this has happened in the region," said Satish Singh, the chief executive of Tetrahedron, a Dubai consultancy that examines trends in the regional car market. "These are long-term strategic partnerships, but if you get to a point where the vision of the future is not matching, you might want to change."

Helping to fuel the brand's new strategy is the fact sales of Aston Martin cars are up 30 per cent in the region in the first half of the year compared with the same period last year. The company now offers 15 models in the region, including variations on the DB9, the Vantage and the Rapide.

Two years ago, the brand was present in five locations around the region; it is now sold in 13 showrooms.

Aston Martin Middle East & North Africa has opened offices in Istanbul and Mumbai in the past year or so and plans to open showrooms in Ankara, New Delhi, Kazakhstan and Morocco before the end of the year.

Mr Charanoglu said the new Dubai showroom would be built in an area of the city that would reflect the luxury nature of the cars.

"It has to be positioned among where a luxurious community [exists]," he said. "I see it as a boutique, like you're going to a very fancy place where you get bespoke service."

 

rjones@thenational.ae