Aston Martin is probably the coolest car company in the world. Its stunning designs, growling V-12s and relationship with everyone’s favorite British spy, give it an image of undeniable desirability. However, despite its icy coolness, Aston has always been a flawed company. Being a relatively small company, it’s always dealt with financial issues and, because of this, has always suffered in the R&D department. Due to it’s lack of funds, Aston has never been able to keep up with it’s rivals, particularly Porsche , when it comes to technology and innovation. For instance, Aston’s latest and greatest, the new Vanquish , uses an engine that’s essentially a decade old. So Aston Martin needs some help and Daimler very well may be there to help it carry on.
Last year, Mercedes-Benz’s parent company, Daimler, acquired four percent of Aston Martin. Now, however, Daimler wants a larger stake and bought one more percent to make it a nice, even five.
Click past the jump to read more about the Daimler-Aston Martin partnership.
When Mercedes-Benz announced it was buying some stake in the car world’s coolest brand, the news was met with mixed feelings. Some people rejoiced in the fact that Aston was going to get the financial backing and parts sharing it needed and some people expressed criticism for the last solely British brand becoming a little bit German.
The big part of this deal is the parts sharing. With Mercedes being able to supply Aston Martin with engines, transmissions, electronics and technologies, Aston can focus on it’s much smaller R&D budget on doing what it does best; make the best looking cars on the market. Aston Martin makes good engines, but it takes 10 years before it makes a new one, in the meantime Porsche, Mercedes and BMW introduce two or three new ones that push the bar out of Aston’s reach. And technology-wise, Aston is so far behind that for it’s navigation system, it uses a Volvo -sourced unit that even Volvo doesn’t use anymore. Not to mention the fact that the Vanquish and Rapide just got their transmissions updated this year to an eight-speed ZF automatic that’s been used industry-wide, for years now.
Mercedes should be supplying Aston Martin with AMG -built V-8s. If anyone still has an issue with this, they’ve never driven an AMG engine. The folks in Affalterbach make some of the best V-8’s around. They’re powerful, smooth and make lovely noises.The engine most likely to be sent to Britain first will be the new 4.0-liter, biturbo V-8 being developed for the new Mercedes-AMG GT, and will probably be used in the replacement for the DB9 . The idea of one of these AMG-made monsters under the hood of an Aston Martin gets me all tingly inside, because those sleek, sexy GT coupe’s will then have both the growl and punch to match the looks.
Mercedes and Aston are also discussing the possibility of creating an SUV for Aston Martin. Aston has played with this idea for awhile now, but it never seemed like a real possibility. However, now it does, as Mercedes has numerous SUV platforms in which it can share with it’s new-found British brother. An SUV sounds like heresy to die-hard Aston fans, just as the Cayenne did to Porsche’s extremists. But what those loyalists don’t consider is how much money those SUV’s make for their beloved automakers. The Cayenne is Porsche’s best-selling vehicle, and gives the automaker the money to develop some of the greatest sports cars of the last decade. So an SUV, if priced right, should do the same for Aston Martin.
Why It Matters
Aston Martin, while an extremely desirable brand, has always struggled financially. Last year, it sold 4,200 vehicles, compared to Mercedes whopping 1.46 million. Due to Aston Martin’s lowly sales figures, year after year, it has always been on the brink of financial ruin. Aston has been saved from that fire numerous times by automakers, most recently by the hand of Ford Motor Co. However, Ford sold Aston in 2007 to Adeem Investment Co., a Kuwaiti company. Aston Martin has been independent of any larger automaker since. Now, though, Mercedes is here to save the day, and should provide enough financial and engineering help to keep Aston afloat, and make the famous British automaker better than ever.