Sales of Aston Martin cars surged as its top-end customers shrugged off a cost-of-living crisis
Sales of Aston Martin cars surged as its top-end customers shrugged off a cost-of-living crisis AFP News

British luxury carmaker Aston Martin Lagonda on Wednesday said annual losses almost tripled on soaring costs and supply strains, but shares surged on rebounding sales and a bright outlook.

Losses after tax ballooned to £528.6 million ($637.9 million) from £191.6 million a year earlier, it said in a results statement.

But sales of the brand -- loved by fictional British spy James Bond -- zoomed 26 percent higher to £1.38 billion as its top-end customers shrugged off a cost-of-living crisis.

That was helped by an 18-percent jump in the average car selling price to £177,000.

The group's performance "was negatively impacted by higher supply chain and logistics costs" which plagued the sector, ramping up costs and delaying deliveries, it added.

The carmaker was hit also by a weaker pound that made dollar-denominated debt more expensive.

Aston's share price nevertheless rallied 14.2 percent to 226.69 pence Wednesday as investors focused on a forecast of "significant" growth in profitability this year.

"Despite the operating environment, we... (exited) 2022 with the strongest order book in many years," said chairman Lawrence Stroll.

The group aims to increase sales volumes to about 7,000 cars this year, up from 6,412 in 2022.

"Aston Martin has been held back by logistics and supply issues, like many of its automotive peers," said Sophie Lund-Yates, equity analyst at stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdown.

"That's kept a lid on volumes, but the engines are now firing."

The average car price "shows how untouched Aston Martin's core customer base is from income pressures and tough inflationary conditions".

Aston had suffered vast losses in 2019 as it crashed on weak global demand linked to China's economic slowdown and Britain exiting the European Union.

Losses then deepened further on fallout from the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

But it was saved from bankruptcy in early 2020 by Canadian billionaire Stroll, who is the top shareholder.

The automaker plans to shift gear into fully electric vehicles from 2025.