The first 100 days of Adam Chamberlain’s Aston Martin were spent with dealers, customers
Adam Chamberlain, Aston Martin’s new president for the Americas, hasn’t been seen much in the office since joining the British luxury carmaker just over 100 days ago.
Chamberlain, 48, left his job in November at Mercedes-Benz USA, where he was vice president of sales and product management and joined Aston Martin, filling the role vacated by Laura Schwab at the end of 2020. He was in South Florida on Friday to visit the home of one of the company’s most important customers and meet with dealers.
Chamberlain, driving a Vantage in the Miami area, pulled over and spoke for a few minutes with editor Richard Truett. Here are edited excerpts.
Q: It’s not often that the president of a car manufacturer visits his customers. How often do you do this?
A: I went to a few customers and saw some great cars. If clients wish to meet me, I am happy to meet them. It’s a privilege to do this. It stems from the fact that I’ve been a car guy, a car fan, forever. Customers who buy the special editions tend to have collections. When dealing with an ultra-luxury brand with an ultra-wealthy clientele, it must be said that they have as much right to call me and ask me to come and see them as a dealer. I really see it that way.
Tell us about your first 100 days.
It’s been about 105 days, and in that time I’ve visited about 24 dealerships, some a few times. Dealers are ultimately our customers. Nothing happens without them. I wanted to go out there and get a good understanding and representation of the dealer partners that we have. I spent a lot of time with our team to understand and rebuild relationships. You watch, you observe, and you try not to ask too many stupid questions.
What are your priorities for the Americas?
We’ve come up with a five-point plan, still evolving and not quite there yet. But it’s just about being focused and clear about what we need to do. It has five pillars.
The first concerns the brand. Most people love the brand, they remember James Bond and racing cars. We are admired. There is a lot of passion for the brand. But what we don’t always do is shoulder the sale. We need consumers to understand our ultra-luxury positioning and our products.
Next, we need to focus on people and processes. We have a great little team. We’re increasing the size of the team by about a third. A team that is still very small in comparison, but we need a little more expertise in the area of marketing and dealer support.
The third pillar is that of products. Within the next 18 months we will have exciting new products, a new range of cars. Our job is to make sure the products are good, compelling for the region and people know about them.
Next comes the location. We want to ensure that we provide a contemporary luxury experience. We invest in staff and training to ensure consistency.
Finally, there is performance. We have potential in the region, with the right product platform, the right communication, the right people and processes and committed resellers. We can grow sustainably and prudently.
Do your five pillars address all unmet dealer needs?
With respect, that’s an impossible question! A reseller will always find a need that you did not know! The dealer wants product and communication; they want to be heard. And they want a dialogue. I have already met twice with our Dealer Advisory Committee and we have had candid discussions. We are [heading] in the right direction.
Aston is synonymous with exclusivity, but the company must also make a profit to fund future product development. What is a good volume for the Americas that achieves both goals?
The definition of exclusivity has changed over time. We are talking about 10,000 units sustainably by 2025; the Americas would be about a third of that. It is a very durable volume.
What was the biggest surprise of your dealership tour?
The genuine love and passion for the brand, the hope that we can turn this opportunity we have for this brand into reality. This company is so product driven. It’s front and center.