For the first time in forty years (!), Aston Martin has booked a profit, although theFord Premier Automotive Group to which it belongs lost about $100 million in 2005.

Chief executive Dr. Ulrich Bez (smiling at right) attributes the company's good news to a global boom in millionaires, with about 70 percent of Aston Martins sold outside the U.K. Only five years ago, 80 percent of the marque's production was sold in England.

Bez, formerly with Porsche, says that Aston Martin has created its own market niche, appealing to wealthy buyers who want performance and exclusivity, but with "English understatement."

[Source: The Times]