Aston Martin posted a deep first-quarter loss following decline in sales by almost a third because of the impact of the coronavirus crisis, though the luxury automaker said production of a crucial sport utility vehicle was on track.
Aston Martin, known for being James Bond’s automaker of choice, observed dropping sales since October 2018. Dire conditions forced the company to bring in Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll to invest in the company, while Aston said it will keep reviewing future funding and refinancing options to increase liquidity.
The coronavirus pandemic hit demand and forced factories across the world to suspend production. However, Aston restarted operations as its Welsh plant last week but not at its other site located in southern England as yet.
“We were obviously fairly significantly hit by COVID-19, starting with China in January but more clearly in what we saw as it came across towards Europe and the United States,” CEO Andy Palmer told Reuters.
The company posted a pre-tax loss of 119 million pounds ($146 million), compared with a loss of 17 million pounds last year, and said it could no longer provide an annual outlook. Its full-year loss in 2019 came in at 104 million pounds.
The automaker said production of its DBX SUV, which is important for increasing volumes and appeal to new buyers including more women, was on track and had a strong order book.
The luxury brand, which has observed core retail sales decline by an annual 31%, has furloughed staff, introduced extra safety measures and cut the pay of its senior management as part of steps to handle the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Stroll, who hopes to conduct a turnaround partly by sharing Formula One technology with the company’s range of road cars, leads a consortium that took a 25% stake in the company previously this year as part of a capital raise worth 536 million pounds.
“Given the ongoing uncertainties, as is prudent, the company continues to review all future funding and refinancing options to increase liquidity,” the company stated.