The AM Rapide was Aston Martin’s first 4 seater supercar released in 2010. The goal was to sell 2000 models, but the number was cut short after sales did not meet their targets.
Unlike its previous releases, the Rapide was aimed at the wealthy family man, who wanted the supercar experience, but could only have one car, perhaps due to children, work or lifestyle requirements, a 2 seater car was not an option.
The Rapide was beautifully crafted, with all the traditional design elements of Aston Martin, but failed shortly after launch in both sales and resell value as the 2nd hand market for the car dropped as initial owners found the car littered with reliability problems that a traditional supercar has, but also the backseats were too small to fit the average European, let alone American adult, which was its main target market.
Launch Date Problems
It was also launched after it’s supercar competitor Porsche released their 4 seater supercar, the Panamera, which was around $100 000 USD cheaper, and boasted faster stats (which supercar owners need). Porsche was a brand known for its reliability, unlike Aston Martin, hence releasing the first 4 door supercar in the market gave them a massive benefit over AM.
Buyers in the market would have purchased the Aston Martin only if they didn’t buy the Panamera for the whole year after it was launched, or did not like the Panamera (probably due to design issues, as the Panamera was less aesthetically pleasing, yet practical).
Competition with Other Models
The Rapide tried to capture the market for wealthy family men who needed to drive people in the backseat. This market segment also overlaps with the luxury SUV market, which at the time, was dominated by Porsche and Mercedes, BMW and Landrover all offered high-end luxury SUV models at a much lower price point of around $300 000 max.
As a result, AM could only capture a proportion of an already small niche.
How Failure Could be Avoided
The crux of the Rapide’s failure lies in its design problem – as the backseats were not practical, yet the car was priced higher than competitors and the main selling point was it was beautifully designed on the outside, yet impractical on the inside. Timing also played a part, as it was released after its direct competitor, and in many ways was inferior to the Porsche Panamera.
They could of avoided this if they opted for more backseat space, in return, sacrificing the beautiful design lines for practicality.
The could’ve even gained success if they released the Rapide as an SUV, which would allow it to have comfortable backseats, and tap into the high end SUV market, which was less saturated and a larger market than the luxury 4 seater market.