Aston Martin has a certain knack for creating some of the most beautiful and finely crafted automobiles in the world. They also have a reputation for being eternally on the verge of bankruptcy and utter collapse. Thanks to this constant state of disarray over the years, Aston Martin has gotten really good at pinching pennies and making their engineering dollars go the distance.
If you need proof of the engineering frugality, I give you the VH architecture. If you are unfamiliar with that term, it is simply the platform/backbone that Aston Martin is currently using for all of its cars. Not only are they using the same basic bones for every car, those bones have existed basically since the first Vanquish . That was 2001.
Now while these old bones have been through several revisions to handle Aston’s newest machines like the One-77 and the new Vanquish , the truth is the platform is beginning to show its age. Thankfully, in part to a new partnership with Mercedes-Benz , Aston is finally going to build an all-new platform. This means that every new Aston Martin going forward will be lighter, stiffer and better performing than ever before.
As a bonus, Aston is teaming up with AMG to build an all-new, bespoke V8. Suddenly I am less sad that the AMG 6.2 is dead.
I haven’t even gotten to the best part yet! Aside from the shiny new V-8s, Aston has confirmed to Autoblog that the V-12 is sticking around too. In a world where even Ferrari is looking at turbocharged V-6 power for its fastest cars, seeing the Brits stand up and wave that V-12 middle-finger is refreshing.
Cheers to you, Aston Martin.
Click past the jump to read more about the Aston Martin-Daimler partnership.
Why It Matters
First lets start with the big gain for Aston Martin, money. Aston has never had a lot of money, and when you sell so few vehicles, trying to make more money for new parts is nearly impossible. Essentially, every major component of every Aston on sale today is more than 10 years old. They needed engineering help, and they needed it fast.
This deal gives Mercedes-Benz 5-percent ownership of the company, but from the look of things, Aston got the better end of this deal. One benefit may be a smaller Mercedes-based Aston that could help to offset the rapidly rising CAFE requirements that Aston could never hit with a lineup comprised of only V-8 and V-12 engines. Think of something like the Aston Martin Cygnet. Except it won’t be utter garbage.
If Aston Martin doesn’t want to make another small city-car to offset its fuel problems, it could just sell itself wholly to Mercedes. Then they would benefit from the massive companies size and scale to offset their fuel economy and meet CAFE regulations. It is the same way that Ferrari (a company of Fiat ) and Lamborghini (owned by VW ) get away with their insane gas-guzzling monsters.
Long story short, there seems to be no real downside to this. Aston gets to keep making great cars for the foreseeable future, and has a fairly direct path to maintaining its operations as a business. Oh, and they get awesome new V-8 engines.
Aston Martin Holdings (UK) Limited is today announcing full year results for the 12 months ended 31 December 2013.
Aston Martin Chief Financial Officer, Hanno Kirner commented: “We made excellent progress on a number of fronts in 2013: growing our global sales, improving our EBITDA and building further on the company’s strong brand as we celebrated our centenary around the globe.
“We will, in the next few years, be implementing the biggest investment programme in our 101-year history, preparing the ground for new and exciting products in the future.
“Our strong ownership structure and strategic partnership with Daimler AG, finalised in December 2013, provides us with a solid foundation for the unprecedented investment programme that will underpin our future growth.
Kirner continued: “We are engineering a completely new architecture and technologies to ensure that our next generation of sports cars is at the forefront of design, performance and technology. The strategic partnership with Daimler AG will bring with it cutting edge electrical and electronic architecture expertise, and the shared development of world-class bespoke V8 powertrains.”
In order to facilitate the biggest investment programme in the history of the brand the company’s capital structure was significantly strengthened in April 2013 when experienced sector investor, Investindustrial, joined Primewagon and Adeem Investment and the other existing shareholders, confirming the value story of Aston Martin.
The 2013 results benefited from an improved model and market mix and the 13 per cent increase in revenue was supported by full year sales of the highly successful Vanquish Coupe and the launch of greatly anticipated Vanquish Volante and V12 Vantage S models in Q4. In addition the company strengthened the existing dealer network and opened in new markets, including Mexico and Thailand.