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Aston Martin swings to loss after UK and Europe sales plunge

By Henry Saker-Clark, PA City Reporter

Aston Martin tumbled to a £92.3 million pre-tax loss for the past three quarters as sales volumes slid on “tough trading conditions” in the UK and Europe.

The luxury car manufacturer swung to the loss for the nine months to September from a £23.9 million pre-tax profit in the same period last year as its recent sales downturn continued.

Revenues and wholesale volumes for the Aston Martin Lagonda group both saw double-digit declines in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, total revenues fell 7% to £657.2 million for the year-to-date, after sales in the third quarter dived 11% to £250.1 million.

This was particularly driven by the decline in wholesale volumes, which plunged 16% for the three months to September.

The company blamed falling sales in the UK and Europe as well as weak demand for its entry level Vantage sports car.

Sales in the UK slid 22% during the past three months and European sales dropped 17%, as sales in the US grew 2%.

Nevertheless, the company held firm on its financial expectation despite lower volumes and “continued economic uncertainty”.

It comes after Aston Martin warned on profits in July, saying it saw it had too many unsold cars in dealerships.

Andy Palmer, Aston Martin president and group chief executive, said: “Tough trading conditions, particularly in the UK and Europe, persist and whilst retail sales have grown 13% year-to-date, wholesale volumes remain under pressure.

“We remain pleased with the performance of DB11 and DBS Superleggera, however, the segment of the market in which Vantage competes is declining, and notwithstanding a growing market-share, Vantage demand remains weaker than our original plans.

“As a consequence, total wholesale volumes are down year-on-year as we balance growth, brand positioning and dealer inventories. Additionally, we are taking actions to control our costs through an efficiency programme.”

Despite the loss, shares in the company rebounded after a recent downturn, rising 7.1% to 447.1p in early trading.