Aston Martin will be unveiling a new mild hybrid inline-six-powered DBX SUV at the upcoming Guangzhou Motor Show in China, according to CEO Tobias Moers in a conference call with analysts last week.
However, unless you live in China, you won’t be able to purchase one; an Aston Martin spokesperson told Autocar UK that the company has no plans to sell the model outside the country.
The Aston Martin DBX is currently only offered with a Mercedes-AMG-sourced 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine, but thanks to the Chinese tax structure, these larger-displacement engines are hit by a significant import tax of around 25%.
With the switch to a smaller mild-hybrid powertrain, expected to be the 435 hp 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged mill with a 48V mild-hybrid system that’s currently used on the Mercedes-AMG E 53, the import tax rate for the Aston Martin DBX will fall by more than half to 12%.
“A mild-hybrid in-line six perfectly fits the expectation of our customers in China,” Moers said.
For the rest of the world, Aston Martin will instead introduce a new version of the DBX next year. Moers hints that it’ll be a higher-performance variant of the SUV, and will most likely feature the 639 hp 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 that’s currently used in AMG’s GT 63 S.
The company also confirmed a plug-in hybrid variant for the DBX, and will be unveiled as part of the facelift model that’s planned for 2024.
Although rivals such as Bentley are already now offering PHEV powertrain variants in the “super SUV” space, Aston Martin remains confident that they won’t be losing out in market share until the hybrid DBX’s eventual debut in 2024.
“Do we lose momentum on DBX by not having a plug-in hybrid? No. This is where we’re really confident,” Moers told investors on the call. “We know who the market leader is: Lamborghini Urus is the market leader in some areas without any hybrid.”
The Aston Martin DBX is one of the carmaker’s most important product in its modern line-up, with the company expecting at least half of its 6,000 predicted sales in 2021 to be made up by the super SUV model.