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Aston Martin Sold

 

by Stephen Walker

 

13th March, 2007

Aston Martin Rapide Concept

Ford Motor Company announced overnight that the company has sold Aston Martin. After 20 years of ownership, Ford divested itself of the company to meet its strategic objectives (which means to raise capital). The sale is valued at 479 million British pounds. The purchasers include Kuwait based investment companies who have indicated a strong conviction to hold ownership of the company for the long-term. The consortium is led by David Richards (founder and Chairman of Prodrive), John Sinders (an avid Aston Martin collector and a backer of Aston Martin Racing) together with Investment Dar and Adeem Investment of Kuwait.

No immediate changes are expected in the day-to-day running of the company. The Chief Executive Officer, Ulrich Bez, has announced he is staying on for 5 years.

In product news, the new company has confirmed plans are in place for the introduction of the new DBS, which replaces the V12 Vanquish in the model lime-up. The new company has approved plans for the production of a 4 door luxury sedan based on the Aston Martin Rapide concept from 2006. Dr Bez indicated other new models are planned for the foreseeable future, too.

During the worldwide media hook-up, other points mentioned include:

  • Car production will remain at Gaydon, Warwickshire, England
  • The Gaydon plant is running at capacity level (7,010 units in 2006)
  • No change in employment numbers, currently 1,800 approximately
  • Engine production will remain at Ford's plant in Germany
  • Ford's other British marques, Jaguar and Land Rover, are not for sale
  • Ford will retain a 40 million British pound investment in the new company
  • Aston Martin has a dealership network of 126 dealers in 27 countries

Ford acquired a 75% stake in Aston Martin in 1987, which was increased to 100% in 1993. Since 1998, Aston Martin has been part of Ford's Premier Automotive Group (PAG), which also includes Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo Cars.

Ford openly disclosed their intention to sell Aston Martin back in September, 2006. The successful negotiations which led to the overnight announcement will, undoubtedly, lead to a continuing long period of stability, thus strengthening the stability provided by Ford's ownership. As such, the value of the famous marque is bound to be enhanced.



Other Aston Martin content: here.



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