If you look around at all of the ultra-luxury automakers - Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce - they all seem to be steady and growing in sales volume, especially with the introduction of SUV models. This wasn't always the case, because during much of the 20th century, almost all of these companies faced bankruptcy at some point. Speaking to Automotive News, Andy Palmer, CEO of Aston Martin, said the key to success has been that "richer people are getting richer and there are more of them."
Among the very rich, "the area which is growing quickest and represents their biggest spend is luxury and ultra-luxury cars" added Palmer. The results for the ultra-luxury segment have been staggering. McLaren, Ferrari and Lamborghini all posted record sales in 2017, and even a small volume manufacturer like Lotus posted a profit. Andy Palmer has been instrumental to helping Aston Martin improve its quality by implementing Toyota's management system, Kanbans, which uses color-coded cards used by workers to order more parts. "I don't care about volumes a day. I care about getting cars off the end of the line without reworking" said Palmer.
Palmer even personally signed off on the first 458 DB11 models built, saying "There's no more profound way of sending the message to the work force that quality is the most important thing." The growth doesn't seem to be slowing down for ultra-luxury automakers, which is great news for enthusiast. Now, companies like Aston Martin can concern themselves with more trivial pursuits, such as keep their brand exclusive. "There is a volume limit to every brand if they want to remain rare and exclusive" warned Palmer.