Aston Martin unveils first SUV

Journalists and guests look at the Aston Martin DBX SUV at its world premiere in Beijing on Wednesday. (AFP)
Updated 21 November 2019

Aston Martin unveils first SUV

  • The company has struggled financially in recent years, posting a loss of £13.5 million last quarter

BEIJING: British carmaker Aston Martin unveiled its first-ever sports utility vehicle (SUV) on Wednesday at events in Beijing and Los Angeles, signaling it was banking on China’s growing appetite for luxury to prop up sales.

Dubbed the DBX, the new vehicle is the biggest expansion in Aston Martin’s range in the brand’s history, CEO Andy Palmer said at its launch.

The company — whose cars play a central role in the fictional British spy James Bond blockbuster films — has struggled financially in recent years, posting a loss of £13.5 million last quarter.

But with its growing appetite for gas-guzzling SUVs, China presents an opportunity for the ailing carmaker, which has been hit by Brexit woes and slowing demand in Europe.

Founded in 1913, Aston Martin hopes to “more than double” its sales in China, which currently stand at around 500 units per year, Palmer told AFP. Nearly half of all new car purchases registered in China last year were SUVs, according to industry sources.

But the growing demand for SUVs was causing environmental headaches.

Emissions from SUVs were the second-largest contributor to the increase in global carbon dioxide emissions from 2010 to 2018 after power generation, the International Energy Agency said last month.

In that period, SUVs more than doubled their global market share from 17 percent to 39 percent, with a contribution to annual emissions rising to more than 700 megatons of carbon dioxide, the agency said.

Palmer said that the DBX was “obviously geared for performance, that’s what an Aston Martin is all about” when asked about the environmental impact of the new car.

With a four-liter, V8 twin turbo-charged engine, the DBX is capable of a top speed of 181 miles (291km) per hour and doing 0-60 miles (97km) per hour in 4.5 seconds.

Aston Martin says it has splurged on the details and was betting on China’s growing demand for luxury for success.

The five-seater is priced at $189,900 in the US, with officials saying they expected a similar price in China.

Palmer said Aston Martin plans to follow in the footsteps of its German rival Porsche, which unveiled an electric model in September, and relaunch its Lagonda series “as a fully electric brand” by 2022 or 2023.

Arab News recording exposes Nissan lawyer’s lie on IMF bailout for Lebanon

Updated 01 June 2020

Arab News recording exposes Nissan lawyer’s lie on IMF bailout for Lebanon

LONDON: Arab News has published the recording of an interview with a Nissan lawyer after he denied saying that a bailout of Lebanon by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was linked to the extradition of fugitive tycoon Carlos Ghosn.

The former Nissan chairman fled to Beirut in December from Japan, where he faced charges of financial wrongdoing.

In a story published in Arab News Japan on Saturday, Sakher El Hachem, Nissan’s legal representative in Lebanon, said the multibillion-dollar IMF bailout was contingent on Ghosn being handed back to Japan. 

The lawyer said IMF support for Lebanon required Japan’s agreement. Lebanese officials had told him: “Japan will assist Lebanon if Ghosn gets extradited,” the lawyer said

“For Japan to agree on that they want the Lebanese authorities to extradite Ghosn, otherwise they won’t provide Lebanon with financial assistance. Japan is one of the IMF’s major contributors … if Japan vetoes Lebanon then the IMF won’t give Lebanon money, except after deporting Ghosn.”

On Sunday, El Hachem denied making the comments. “The only thing I told the newspaper was that there should have been a court hearing on April 30 in Lebanon, but it was postponed because of the pandemic,” he said. In response, Arab News published the recording of the interview, in which he can be clearly heard making the statements attributed to him. 

Japan issued an arrest warrant after Ghosn, 66, escaped house arrest and fled the country.

Now listen to the recording: