High-End Mailer Debuts $160K Aston Martin

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Aston Martin has begun its first round of direct marketing in North America with a mailer promoting the DB9, a new model designed to combine the power of a sports car with the comfort of a luxury vehicle.

Sent by dealers for mid-December delivery, the mailer targets 7,500 Aston Martin owners and handraisers in the United States and Canada to generate awareness and pre-orders for the British muscle car. Costing an estimated $160,000, the DB9 enters showrooms in the spring.

"They're really trying to reach the North American consumer versus just taking the UK communication and adapting it," said Denise M. Soltys, president of Aston Martin local agency S3, Boonton, NJ.

The folded holiday card is printed on pewter paper to evoke the imagery and deep metallic silver of the DB9. It is enclosed in a frosted white A6 envelope.

One fold of the mailer shows a side shot of the DB9 above a headline reading, "Celebrate the new year to the 9's." On the other fold, a countdown is shown starting from 12 through 8. A frontal shot of the DB9 takes the place of the number 9.

All cards include a handwritten greeting.

"It's coming from a dealership they know," Soltys said. "Chances are that they'll at least say 'thank you' the next time they're at the dealership, or they'll call. Also, they're likely to ask for information about the car."

The DB9 is the latest generation in the DB series. It will replace the DB7, which ends production this month after a 10-year run and 7,000 vehicles. There is no DB8.

"The reason they named it DB9 is because they consider it two generations ahead of the last car," Soltys said.

Debuting in September at the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany, the DB9 is the first car out of Aston's new English plant in Gaydon, Warwickshire.

The DB9 uses a new aluminum bonded frame, like the new Jaguar XJ sedan, also a Ford Motor Co. brand. Its vertical/horizontal platform strategy will form the template of all future Aston Martin models.

The DB9 coupe and its Volante convertible version boast an all-alloy, 48-valve, 6-liter, 450bhp V12 engine. The Volante hits showrooms worldwide next fall.

It is claimed the car takes 200 hours to build by hand.

Aston Martin aims to sell 2,000 units of the DB9 next year, split equally between the coupe and convertible. But the automaker typically sells only 400 cars a year in North America.

Though there is no direct call-to-action, a small gesture like a mailer by S3 serves a marketing need. The DB9 will compete with the heavily advertised Bentley Continental GT and the Mercedes SL. All vie for the same affluent consumers with multiple cars in their garage.

"There are so many super-luxury cars out there that Aston Martin does need to stand out from the clutter," Soltys said. "They're trying to do this by capitalizing on the tremendous brand loyalty they have."


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