Automotive

Mercedes And Aston Martin Are Getting More Serious


Illustration for article titled Mercedes And Aston Martin Are Getting More Serious

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Way back in July 2013, Aston Martin and Mercedes announced that they would partner up so Aston could use AMG engines and some Merc electronics, in exchange for Merc getting a small Aston stake. Today, the two companies said that their relationship is significantly growing beyond that.

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In 2013, Merc got a five percent stake in Aston which has now been increased to up to 20 percent, per Mercedes’ announcement. The new agreement, like last time, seems to be an effort by Aston Martin to stay competitive and save money on development costs.

The new agreement will see Mercedes-Benz AG grant access to a range of advanced Mercedes-Benz technologies, including next generation hybrid and electric powertrains, as well as other vehicle components and systems.

Access to these technologies will be granted in exchange for new shares in Aston Martin, issued in several stages over the next 3 years, up to a total value of GBP 286 million. Mercedes-Benz AG’s current shareholding stands at 2.6% of Aston Martin’s common equity. The new shares to be issued will take Mercedes-Benz AG’s holding up to a maximum of no more than 20.0%. Mercedes-Benz AG has no intention to increase its holding in Aston Martin beyond this level.

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The hybrid and electric powertrains, I’m assuming, will go into some future version of the new DBX, if not the current version, because if the DBX isn’t a success Aston is probably toast. You could also see Aston putting hybrid or electric powertrains in its sports cars, which haven’t been selling all that well in recent years anyway.

This year has been all about change at Aston Martin, after CEO Andy Palmer was ousted in May, replaced by Mercedes man Tobias Moers, who used to head up AMG. A background like that doesn’t scream electric or hybrid but Moers will still be deeply familiar with both companies.

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Aston executive chairman Lawrence Stroll, himself fairly new to the company having bailed Aston out in January, said today that, this time, Aston definitely, for sure, has the right people in place to be successful.

In addition, we have developed a new business plan targeting revenue of c.£2bn and c.£500m of adjusted EBITDA by 2024/25. This reflects the technology agreement and the delivery of new, compelling vehicles to achieve these growth ambitions.

The plan will be underpinned by the new proposed financing that we are announcing today to strengthen the balance sheet, extend the debt maturity and improve liquidity. As part of this I am delighted to welcome Zelon Holdings, a European family office, and Permian Investment Partners as new shareholders in the Company. I, and my co-investors, are fully committed to delivering this plan, and our participation in this new substantial round of financing demonstrates both our confidence in the prospects for the business and our commitment to the future success of Aston Martin.

This is truly game changing. We now have the right team, partner, plan and funding in place to transform the Company to be one of the greatest luxury car brands in the world.

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This is truly game-changing in the fact that it suggests Aston will still be with us for the foreseeable future, but Aston still has a lot of work to do to make sure that remains true long-term.

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