Auto Industry Featured Story

Aston Martin unveils its first SUV, and it’s aimed at women

Written by Norris McDonald

AUSTIN, TEXAS—Jimmy Durante was an American song-and-dance man who was a star on radio, television and the movies. Although he’s been dead since 1980, you still hear him at this time of year because he had a hit with “Frosty the Snowman.”

Durante was famous for his sayings, among them: “I hate music, especially when it’s played,” “Be nice to people on your way up because you’ll meet them again on your way down,” and “Goodnight, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are,” which was a pet name he gave his wife one day after driving through a town with that name in North Carolina. It became his sign-off on radio and TV.

I got thinking about Durante here in the state capital of Texas recently when I, plus a small number of other journalists, was given a sneak peek at Aston Martin’s first SUV, the DBX, which was formally introduced two weeks later at the Beijing Motor Show and the Los Angeles Auto Show.

An Aston Martin SUV? Aren’t there enough SUVs around already? It was then I thought of Durante and another one of his sayings: “Everybody wants to get into the act,” although, with his Bronx upbringing, it always came out as, “Everybody wants ta get inta da act.”

No manufacturer wants to be left behind these days when it comes to competition in the marketplace. And not only does everybody want to get into the act, they must. If you’re an Aston Martin sports car aficionado, for instance, and you have a family, then you probably also own an SUV. Until now, Aston didn’t make one; now it does.

Andy Palmer, president and group CEO of Aston Martin, told me in an interview that day in Austin that 72 per cent of current Aston Martin owners also have an SUV in their garage. He didn’t come out and say it, but the inference was that 72 per cent were potential DBX customers — along with everyone else in the luxury SUV segment.

“The goal of this car is to be the best-looking SUV on the market,” Palmer said. “It’s like a Savile Row suit; it’s been made to your specification and it’s been made with passion. DBX is the most beautiful of all the SUVs.”

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Aston Martin the Americas president Laura Schwab arranged for journalists to drive some Aston Martin Vantage sports cars, which are powered by the same engine used in the company’s new SUV, the DBX. This photo and the one at the beginning of the column taken by Norris McDonald.

Some automotive journalists were treated to a day of driving around the Central Texas hill country in a convoy of Aston Martin Vantages, which are powered by the same engine as found in the company’s new SUV, the DBX. Photo by Norris McDonald

Aston Martin is a sponsor of the Red Bull Racing Formula One team and arranged for a group of automotive writers to meet the team’s drivers. Here, Norris McDonald interviews Max Verstappen. Photo by Nathan Hoyt.

Norris McDonald considers it his duty in life to keep people entertained. When Aston Martin arranged for some automotive journalists to have their photos taken with one of the Red Bull Racing F1 drivers, Norris took the opportunity to try to crack up Alexander Albon. It seems he succeeded. Photo by Nathan Hoyt.