In March 2009, Ulrich Bez, CEO of iconic carmaker Aston Martin, was excited about the possibility of producing the world's first luxury crossover vehicle. Bez had spent months forecasting the short-term investments and long-term gains that could be possible with a line of crossovers, and the design department had produced a model of the car.
After presenting the prototype at the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland, however, uncertainty arose. Unexpected criticism from the press mocked both the look and concept of the vehicle, indicating that consumer demand for the car might be dramatically low. Returning to the company's England headquarters, Bez had to decide whether to forge ahead with his vision for the vehicle or pull the plug on the project altogether.
The case was originally written as the opening experience to an entering executive MBA class. As an introductory case for a two-year MBA program, it covers a range of disciplines, including strategy, finance, marketing, and leadership. Three teaching notes explain how to tailor the case discussion to a strategic focus, a leadership focus, and an Eastern philosophy focus.
Accompanying this case and supporting discussion are several videos excerpted from both an in-studio interview with Bez and an interview filmed while Bez was driving an Aston Martin through the Charlottesville, Virginia, countryside.