The vast majority of the new cars sold in Japan may be manufactured there by domestic automakers, but the country is also one of the top five markets for high-end luxury automobiles – including those imported from overseas by automakers like Aston Martin.
Little wonder, then, that Aston took the occasion of the Japanese Grand Prix weekend to showcase two of its latest designs in an effort to drum up not only sales for its current models, but enthusiasm for what it has coming down the pipeline as well.
Most vital to the company's success – in Japan and around the world – is the new DB11. The first in a series of new models coming from Aston Martin, the DB11 is hardly what most of us would consider an inexpensive mode of transportation. But with Japan's notoriously high tariffs on imported automobiles (especially those with larger engines), it's sure to be that much more expensive in the Land of the Rising Sun.
We're not sure we even want to know how much a Valkyrie will go for over there, considering they'll already carry multi-million-dollar price tags in countries with low taxes on new cars (like the United States). Yet we're sure Aston will sell (and likely already has sold) a few of them in Japan, where – despite the taxes – a surprising proportion of hypercars find their new owners.
Aston's chief designer Marek Reichman was on hand for the presentations of both the DB11 (at the dealership in Nogoya) and the Valkyrie in Osaka and Tokyo, joined at the latter by partner Red Bull's star driver Daniel Ricciardo and former F1 drivers Martin Brundle and David Coulthard.
This wasn't the first visit from a high-level company executive to Japan in recent months, though. Late this past August, CEO Andy Palmer joined British Prime Minister Theresa May on a trade mission to Japan, where Aston announced £500 million ($660m) worth in trade between the company and the country to unfold over the next five years.
The automaker anticipates selling some £400 million in new cars there over the next half-decade, and in turn will buy more than £70 million ($92m) in components from Japanese suppliers like Bridgestone and Denso. It's also opening a new head office and a startup accelerator there next year.