• It appears that AMG is dissolving its relationship with Aston Martin.
• The British brand could be taken over by Geely.
• US electric vehicle startup Lucid may be the best pair of all.
Aston Martin’s friends-benefits relationship with AMG is falling apart. Former AMG boss Tobias Moers was ousted as CEO of Aston last year, and the makeshift R&D satellite he set up around the corner from AMG in Affalterbach was shut down before it could even start operating. The British marque still uses Benz’s previous-generation AMG engines and infotainment systems. And Mercedes will honor all contracts and supply Aston with know-how and parts until the last of Aston’s current gas-powered models bites the dust in 2026 or 2027.
However, according to several sources, Aston’s planned all-new range of electric vehicles, which envisaged the replacement of Vantage, DB11, DBS and DBX in the period 2026-2029, will no longer use the Mercedes AMG 59X matrix. A German insider jokes: “AMG and Pagani: this is true friendship. AMG and Aston are just a business case with a fixed expiry date”.
While it’s possible for Aston to extend the lifecycle of its current portfolio, the brand is increasingly desperate for fresh metal to set the pace. Topping the list is an all-new EV coupe/convertible intended squarely to replace the 2026 Ferrari F8 Tributo/Roma. Executive chairman Lawrence Stroll, the Canadian billionaire who led a consortium to acquire a controlling stake in Aston Martin in 2020, brought in former Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa to replace Moers. Chief sales and marketing manager Marco Matteacci, CTO Roberto Fedeli and other Italian high-flyers have been recruited from the deep Ferrari/Lamborghini/Maserati talent pool, but it is increasingly clear that talent is not enough. Aston needs a strategic partner.
After the group of Stroll and Mercedes-Benz, the second largest shareholder of Aston Martin is Li Shifu of Geely. Geely’s purchasing chief is reportedly interested in adding Aston Martin to its medley of brands, which includes Volvo, Polestar and Lotus. Anglophile Shifu is a true Aston aficionado who reportedly developed a habit of giving his daughter a bespoke British sports car as a birthday present. To gain control of Aston Martin, the Chinese tycoon could take advantage of the British company’s modest market capitalization of $1.2 billion and engineer a direct takeover or attempt a friendly takeover with potentially significant two-way synergy effects for Aston , Lotus and potentially some of its Chinese brands.
Lucid could be a win-win
So far, though, Stroll has ignored Geely’s courtship. Instead, Stroll began flirting with the Saudi government’s PIF fund. The Saudis are in a position to offer fresh cash and a technology partnership with Lucid Motors, in which they hold a controlling 60.5% stake. Stroll also recently resumed speaking directly with Lucid’s Peter Rawlinson and Eric Bach. Why shiny? Because partnering with the American EV startup could lead to a win-win scenario. The original idea conceived in late 2021 was for Lucid to cover vehicles up to $200,000, while Aston would cater to customers over $225,000, including the supercar/hypercar segment. At the same time, the Americans would break their irregular and underfunded distribution scheme and join forces with the 134 established Aston dealerships.
Aston’s traditional strengths include lightweight architectures, head-turning designs and industry-leading customization. Lucid’s main strengths are electrification and digitization. But when it comes to bending sheet metal, assembling the parts, and turning it into something that drives pretty well and tough, the Aston has a clear edge over the startup. So, in a weird way, these two unlikely partners might actually be a good match.
In an ideal world, both brands should benefit and motivate each other. Imagine the Lucid Air 2.0 spawning an Aston Martin Lagonda, or the Lucid Gravity SUV sharing its genes with the next generation DBX. Already, Aston would have agreed at the end of January to buy electric motors from Lucid (and, clearly, not Mercedes). This scenario is still overshadowed, however, by Aston’s heavy debt burden and Lucid’s rapid rate of money consumption, to name just two complicating factors.
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