In an unexpected move that underscores how seriously luxury automakers are taking Tesla Motors’ incursion into their turf, Aston Martin unveiled an all-electric crossover SUV that, if put into production, would compete directly with Tesla’s forthcoming Model X electric crossover.
The DBX Concept is ” a challenge to the existing status quo” in the segment, said Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer while introducing the car at the Geneva Auto Show.
Palmer stressed that while the DBX Concept was not “production-ready,” the crossover was an attempt to gauge interest by “potential customers around the world who have, to this point, yet to consider one of our cars.”
The SUV market is one of the hottest categories in the luxury auto segment and is critical to expanding market share — the Cayenne SUV, introduced in 2002, doubled Porsche’s market share among women and is now its best-selling car. Since then, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Audi, Land Rover, Cadillac and Lincoln have all fielded SUVs and crossovers.
Aston Martin is the latest super-premium carmaker to announce plans to build a crossover — Rolls Royce and Bentley are developing SUVs — and it joins Audi, which at Geneva announced it is developing an electric SUV, in targeting the luxury market that Tesla will initially have to itself when its Model X starts deliveries later this year.
Tesla has logged an estimated 20,000 pre-orders for the Model X.