Daimler And Aston Martin, Closer To A Technology Partnership
|   Saturday, May 11, 2013
The negotiations between Aston Martin and the German giant Daimler regarding a possible technological collaboration agreement continue. The English, for quite some time now, were looking for a strategic partner. Together, they could share the costs of developing a completely new range of engines and electronic components for the next generation of models.

In a statement to British magazine Autocar, Mercedes boss Dieter Zetsche, has expressed openness to a possible collaboration with the Aston Martin.
Zetsche said no deal had been done, but added: "Aston Martin is a great brand and I must say Dr Ulrich Bez (the Aston CEO) is doing a great job with them. If a company that sells a few thousand vehicles wants to talk then we might do that, I am open to it. But it must not distract from our core business."

Meanwhile, Silke Walters, a spokeswoman for the Germany-based Daimler, confirmed the advanced stage of negotiations, without revealing much details about a possible final decision. "While both sides know and respect each other very much, no decisions have been made," said Silke Walters. Discussions also involve Aston Martin owners Investindustrial Advisers SpA and Investment Dar Co., said Walters.

Among the key components that Aston Martin could get is having established a official relationship with Mercedes and its AMG sports division, which includes modern electronic components and, especially a new V12 engine, of which the British would need if they want to replace the current engine developed by Ford.

Aston Martin is the only global luxury auto brand that does not belong to a larger manufacturing group, making it extremely difficult to match competitors' lower costs for creating models.

The complete renewal of the range will cost at least 600 million euro over the next four years. Investindustrial and the majority shareholder, Investment Dar, are determined to invest the money that Aston Martin needs to beat on an equal footing with the traditional rivals from Ferrari / Maserati and Bentley.

Good relationships between Mercedes and Investindustrial, the investment fund that acquired 37.5 percent of shares in the English company at the end of last year for the sum of 190 million euros, started several years ago when the Italians had yet to sell the Ducati motorcycle manufacturer, establishing a collaborative and successful marketing image with the German brand.

A senior Mercedes source has said previously on Investindustrial, "We know these guys. They were behind Ducati and we had a very closely knit marketing deal with them. They rang and asked if they won the bid for Aston would we be interested in being a technology partner. There is significant scope. It would be more than just drivelines. If you look at Aston products today, it is clear that they need not only new drivelines with increased performance and improved emissions but also electronic architectures."

Investment Dar, a Kuwaiti sovereign-wealth fund, has been the main owner of Aston Martin since taking part with a group of investors in acquisition of the brand from Ford in 2007 for 503 million pounds.
Investindustrial, a European private-equity fund, plans to remain an Aston Martin shareholder for at least 10 years.
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