“Aston Martin now has everything in place to become one of the greatest luxury car brands in the world.”
So says Tobias Moers, the new CEO of Aston Martin Lagonda.
He joined the business in August this year, and is a board member of Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings PLC.
Prior to Aston Martin, Moers has spent over 25 years in senior roles at Daimler AG, so he’s a chap who knows a thing or two about the luxury motoring industry.
Why is it, then, that I read the opening lines of his email to customers – presented to you here as the opening line of my article – and I think to myself that it somewhat lacks a little special something?
Maybe it’s the use of that weaselly caveat “one of” which really sticks in my throat.
Moers reassures: “The transformation of Aston Martin has begun.”
That’s great. But what are you hoping to transform it into, Mr Moers?
Surely Aston Martin is already regarded as “one of the greatest luxury car brands in the world” so your goal has been achieved de facto.
I mean, it’s the favoured vehicle of none other than 007 himself, James Bond – for crying out loud!
Nevertheless, Mr Moers continues…
“Since joining Aston Martin this summer, it has been my ambition to build on the vibrant history of this unique brand and deliver the next generation of exhilarating products.”
Well, that sounds awesome. I think.
He describes it as a “new transformational era in Aston Martin’s history,” but I still can’t quite put my finger on why I’m supposed to be excited by this.
“We have made significant progress already and last week, we announced that we have strengthened our long-term relationship with Mercedes-Benz AG.”
It means Aston Martin will have access to advanced technologies that will enable them to “continue designing, engineering and manufacturing the most beautiful cutting-edge cars across the world.”
Ahhh… now we’re onto something, at last! A bit of bravado and confidence!
“We have also updated our plans for the business, incorporating the benefits of this enhanced partnership and we are targeting delivery of significant growth…”
Oh dear! Blah, blah, blah! That little spark has suddenly been extinguished.
Surely, as Aston Martin fans, we want fast and exhilarating cars, not boring boardroom talk!
I ask myself ‘What was the purpose of this email?’
I then scroll back through my inbox to find others to check whether these piqued my interest, since I can’t actually recall bothering to read them at the time.
It’s not looking good. I stumble across an email from March this year, back when Andy Palmer was CEO.
It’s more of the same I’m afraid. The email included a link to a video entitled “Lawrence Stroll, Andy Palmer and Mr JWW reveal V12 Speedster”.
The 11-minute video sees Mr Stroll open by telling us that he is “leading a consortium of investors” before continuing to steal no less than four minutes of our time (time we’ll never get back, by the way) blathering on about his business strategy – apparently reading from a script or autocue.
Why? (At this point I’m close to tearing my hair out!)
You’re really not supposed to be leading an investment strategy meeting here, Mr Stroll, you’re supposed to be showing us a bunch of sexy cars whizzing around a chicaned circuit or twisting mountain roads, ideally somewhere exotic.
Back to Mr Moers’ recent email, then, and I give up! He’s now used the word ‘portfolio’ in an email to customers.
If he were Ferrari’s boss he might be referring to his ‘stable’ of thoroughbred stallions, perhaps. I don’t know, anyway that’s for the marketing people to improve upon.
The point is, it needs to be evocative language to match the evocative and thrilling driving experiences we can elicit from the vehicles.
And maybe that’s the problem. Aston Martin’s latest (the DBX) looks like it’s borrowed most of its styling cues from a Ford Focus, and that’s not cool or exciting. Not very 007 at all.
(Shush, I know Daniel Craig drove a Ford Mondeo in Casino Royale – but that was so wrong, just so very wrong!)
Right, let’s finish reading this email.
“The expansion of our partnership with Mercedes-Benz AG… blah, blah, blah… our future products remain competitive… blah, blah, blah… differentiate the products that we can offer to you.”
(I’m actually yawning at this point, but I’m not a quitter. Com on, we’ll finish it together.)
“We now have in place the right team, partner, plan and funding to transform Aston Martin to expand our product portfolio and roll out a range of products that exceed the expectations of our customers.
“We have great ambitions for Aston Martin and I look forward to keeping you updated on our journey to become one of the greatest luxury car brands in the world.”
And there it is, he said it again. He used the words “one of” both at the top and bottom of his email.
I’ve driven enough Aston Martins to know the the firm does make some great cars, but it’s going to have to do far better than merely being “one of” the runners and riders if it hopes to continue doing so.
Cut the business speak, show us something that’ll get our hearts racing.