HomeINDUSTRY NEWSInterview: Matthew Becker, Aston Martin Chief Engineer

Interview: Matthew Becker, Aston Martin Chief Engineer

Matthew Becker, who simply goes by the name Matt, has one of the most enviable jobs in the automotive industry. He is the chief engineer at Aston Martin Lagonda and is responsible for developing all the oily bits that make an Aston well, drive like an Aston.

Having spent over three decades in the vehicle engineering space, with many of those at Lotus, Matt knows a thing or two about vehicle dynamics and how to make a vehicle go around corners as quickly and safely as possible. Lerato Matebese recently sat down with Matt to find about more about his vehicle engineering career.

DRIVEN: Please share with our readers your journey in the vehicle engineering field that has culminated in you heading up engineering development at Aston Martin?

MATT: Well, it all started with my father who was quite senior at Lotus for many years and was engineering director at the firm. In essence, it is the same job I eventually held at Lotus before joining Aston. I used to go into work with him on Saturdays and I knew from very early on what I wanted to become. As a result, I became an apprentice at Lotus in 1998 and went through numerous training aspects from fabrication and fitting skills over a four-year period.

DRIVEN: How did you end up heading the Lotus development and engineering department?

MATT:I began as a technician and then became an engineer in the first-generation Elise sportscar, before moving into general development and later ended up as the head of dynamics of all Lotus products until 2014 when I left the company.

DRIVEN: How did the move to Aston Martin come about?

MATT: Andy Palmer, CEO of Aston Martin, approached me to come join the team as chief engineer and I jumped at the opportunity. My very first project was the current Vantage sportscar and all though the vehicle’s development was already in progress when I joined, I was very instrumental in its overall dynamics and how it steers. Then it was onto the DB11, then the DBS Superleggera and now the new DBX SUV.

DRIVEN: That is quite an impressive portfolio and we know how passionate you are about vehicle dynamics, but was the DBX a great departure from what you’re relatively used to?

MATT:The DBX project was always going to be a different challenge for us as Aston Martin in general and my team of engineers in particular, as we had never embarked on building an SUV until now. However, this also presented an opportunity for us to develop a vehicle from a blank canvas and make it the most versatile and capable Aston Martin to date. And as you will have the opportunity to drive the vehicle later, I’m certain you’ll agree that we’ve achieved a great deal with the DBX.

DRIVEN: Electric cars are here, and Aston Martin has its sights on an electric vehicle future, do you think these will be exciting propositions for your customers?

MATT: Personally, I like electric cars. The instantaneous response and performance are mighty impressive. Aston Martin is all about captivating design and we certainly feel that we can achieve this in our future, the only challenge we foresee and that we’re grappling with is the sound or the lack thereof in the instance EVs. So yes, we’re still trying to find a way around that one.

DRIVEN: Would you recommend potential engineers to follow in your footsteps?

MATT: Most certainly! Vehicle engineering is so broad that you can decide which aspect of it you want to go into. There is design, body, electrical, development, chassis development and even NVH (Noise Vibration Harshness) – it really is a wide spectrum to delve into.

DRIVEN: What else can we expect from you and your team in the foreseeable future?

MATT: Well, without divulging too much, we do have a 2020 strategy as Andy Palmer alluded to, and were perhaps about only a third into that plan, so there is a great deal that you can expect from the Aston Martin brand in the near future.

Driven will be jetting off to California, US at the end of April to sample the Aston Martin DBX, so keep a look out for our driving impressions in a future edition



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