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Bez plans long term

Bez believes Aston Martin will continue to grow, despite their struggle through the global financial crisis.

Officially, Bez is 66 and already past the retirement age for an executive with his sort of job - chief executive of Aston Martin.

But as I spend my first five minutes with Bez, and hear him talk about everything from electric cars to his 14-year-old daughter, I remember that he is a truly amazing man. He has a crazy collection of glasses, he still loves driving in races, and he has a passion for Aston which is driving the company well beyond any sane limits.

"What do you mean, I am 67? That is a long, long time away, in November," Bez tells me. "Actually, I do not eventually plan to retire in 2012. As I have decided to become 100 years old I have five or 10 years to continue yet."

So that's the age question out of the way. But what about Aston, which has struggled through the global financial crisis and operates in a tiny area of the luxury car business. "We have been in profit in 2008, even in the toughest year. We are looking for about 6000 units this year, provided the global economy does not go down further."

Bez has had some big jobs during his career, from Porsche to BMW and even Daewoo, and draws on all that experience with Aston. And he knows exactly where his company fits. "We see a very clear growth in wealth in the world. We can expect a big demand for individualisation. People want to be different," Bez says. "This is the human nature. In a free world it is a very personalised world. This why cars like ours, which are very exclusive, are still successful."

He believes Aston will continue to grow through cars like its outrageous One-77 supercar, the four-door Rapide, and the Lagonda SUV that is being developed.

"It's a little bit, I would compare, with the watch business. At some stage it was thought that technology would overcome the watch business, but fortunately we still build mechanical watches in the way we have done in the past," Bez says. "It is not overcome by electronics. We will see a similar demand in cars. "A car in the mass market will become more anonymous, and less understood, because it's such a dense and complicated package. We will be the jewellers of the transport world and the car."

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