Aston Martin invests in the US as Brexit looms
Aston Martin is increasing investment in the US as it makes contingency plans for Britain leaving the EU.
The UK sports car maker does not expect any drop in consumer confidence caused by Brexit to spread to the US, its biggest market, chief executive Andy Palmer told Bloomberg.
"We’ve been putting a lot of effort in the US," Palmer said.
That includes a move into US real estate as part of an effort to create a broader luxury brand. The company has got together with G&G business development, a property developer, to build a 66-floor apartment building in Miami bearing the Aston Martin brand.
Aston Martin, whose cars have featured in the James Bond films, sold about 3,600 vehicles in 2016. The US brought in 20% of sales, ahead of its second-biggest market, the UK. The company is also expanding in Japan and will start selling SUVs in China in 2019.
Palmer said he was concerned about vehicle standards and "local content" rules after Britain leaves the EU but that he was "pretty neutral" about Brexit because the weaker pound will offset extra tariffs. About 45% of Aston Martin cars are from the UK because it makes its engines and buys gearboxes in Germany.
He said an initial public offering of Aston Martin may have to wait until uncertainties linked to Brexit are cleared up.
“The quicker that we can get clarity over Brexit, the happier we will be,” Palmer said. “I would hope we’ll get clarity on trade talks in particular in the early part of the New Year.”