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Aston Martin First-Quarter Sales Rose 10% on China, CEO Says

April 20 (Bloomberg) -- Aston Martin, the British maker of sports cars featured in James Bond movies, posted a 10 percent increase in global sales last quarter, driven by demand from China, Chief Executive Officer Ulrich Bez said.

Sales in China climbed 36 percent last quarter and the company expects deliveries to increase 40 percent for the year, Bez said in an interview at the Shanghai Auto Show today. Globally, sales will probably rise slightly this year, he said.

China, already the world’s biggest auto market, is becoming even more important for carmakers as European auto demand heads toward its lowest level in 20 years. In the luxury space, China will surpass the U.S. by as early as 2016 and equal that of Western Europe by 2020, according to estimates at McKinsey & Co.

China will probably account for as much as 25 percent of the company’s sales in the next three-to-five years, he said. Aston Martin will increase its number of dealership in China to more than 20 in two or three years from 14 now, he said.

Bez said he anticipates much uncertainty in Europe, for Germany to experience a general slowdown, while demand in southern Europe struggles to recover.

The company plans to introduce two new cars every year, including a convertible, though it hasn’t “found the right slot” for an SUV, he said.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Alexandra Ho in Shanghai at aho113@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net

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