British supercar maker Aston Martin Lagonda (AML -0.98%) said on Nov. 15 that its operating profit nearly tripled in the third quarter from a year ago, to 25.3 million British pounds ($32.9 million). Revenue increased 81%, to 282.4 million pounds ($367.1 million), on a strong increase in wholesale shipments driven by high demand for the company's latest models.

Aston Martin also confirmed its previous upbeat profit and sales guidance for the full year.

Aston Martin Lagonda earnings: The raw numbers

Aston Martin reports its results in British pounds. As of Sept. 30, the last day of the third quarter, 1 British pound = about $1.30. 

Metric Q3 2018 Q3 2017 Change
Revenue 282.4 million pounds 156.4 million pounds 81%
Vehicles shipped 1,776 891 99%
Adjusted EBITDA 54.4 million pounds 28.1 million pounds 93%
Adjusted EBITDA margin 19.3% 18% 1.3 ppts
Adjusted EBIT 27.2 million pounds 8.6 million pounds 218%
Adjusted EBIT margin 9.6% 5.5% 4.1 ppts
EBIT 25.3 million pounds 8.6 million pounds 196%
Profit before tax 3.1 million pounds 0.3 million pounds 899%

Data source: Aston Martin Lagonda Holdings Ltd. "EBITDA" is earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization. "EBIT" is earnings before interest and tax. "Vehicles shipped" are wholesales. "Adjusted" figures exclude one-time items, in this case expenses of 1.8 million pounds associated with its initial public offering in October. "Ppts" = percentage points. 

A black Aston Martin Vantage, a low-slung two-seat sports car, on a mountain road.

Strong demand for the all-new Aston Martin Vantage sports car helped boost sales around the world in the third quarter. Image source: Aston Martin Lagonda Holdings Ltd.

How Aston Martin performed in the third quarter

In a nutshell: Sales were up sharply in all four of Aston Martin's global regions, driven by strong demand for the new-this-year Vantage model, a two-seat V8-powered sports car, and new variants of its mainstay four-seat DB11. 

Growth was especially strong in the Americas region, driven by good sales in the United States, and in the APAC (Asia Pacific Australia China) region, helped by a 118% increase in sales in China. The company noted that its sales in China are up 21% year to date, outpacing the 5% growth of China's overall "high luxury sports" market segment. 

A bar chart showing year-over-year sales increases in all four of Aston Martin Lagonda's regions: The U.K., Americas, EMEA excluding the U.K., and APAC.

Vehicle sales. Dark green = Q3 2018. Light green = Q3 2017. Data source: Aston Martin Lagonda Holdings Ltd. "EMEA" is Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, excluding the U.K. Chart by author.

But average selling price (excluding the very limited high-priced "special" models) fell 7% from a year ago, to about 136,000 pounds. The explanation: The new V8 Vantage model is Aston's lowest-priced vehicle; high demand for the Vantage and for a new V8-powered version of its larger DB11 (which is also available in a more expensive V12-powered version) skewed the overall "mix" of vehicles sold, pushing the average selling price downward. That's no surprise -- in fact, boosting sales of V8-powered cars is a key part of CEO Andy Palmer's growth plan.

Aston Martin's capital expenditures in the quarter totaled 71 million pounds. That was down 33% from a year ago, when Aston Martin was working to complete development of the V8 Vantage and new variants of its larger cars. 

Update on future products and a new factory

Aston Martin has been working on an all-new SUV, called the DBX. The company said that the first prototype vehicles have been completed and are now being tested. 

A prototype Aston Martin DBX, a high-performance luxury SUV, covered in yellow and black camouflage, in a rugged hilly setting.

Aston Martin released photos of its upcoming SUV, called the DBX. The DBX is expected to begin shipping in 2020. Image source: Aston Martin Lagonda Holdings Ltd.

Aston also said that its new factory in St. Athan, Wales, which will build its upcoming range of battery-electric vehicles, is in its final phase of construction and on schedule to begin preproduction in the first half of 2019. 

Looking ahead: Aston confirmed its full-year guidance

Aston Martin confirmed the full-year guidance it gave earlier in the year. It still expects:

  • Sales of between 6,200 and 6,400 vehicles (2017 result: 5,117)
  • Adjusted EBITDA margin of about 23% (2017: 23.6%)
  • Adjusted EBIT margin of about 13% (2017: 13.4%)

There was one upbeat note: Palmer said that the company now expects its full-year sales to come in near the top of that range.