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Aston Martin SUV in the works?

1/30/2015 7:29:50 PM
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Aston Martin Lagonda is considering its first crossover as the maker of the US$184,000 (S$248,600) DB9 sports car plans to refresh its line-up in the biggest investment plan in the British marque's history.

Investindustrial SpA, which bought a 37.5 per cent stake in the British manufacturer in 2012, has pledged the resources to carry out a growth push that could double Aston Martin's sales to as many as 8,000 vehicles a year from about 4,000 now.

"Aston has an industrial plan which is growing in its ambitions and we have always planned to participate in all funding needs that Aston has," Investindustrial chairman Andrea Bonomi said in Milan.

"If Aston needs capital, we're there."

He helped recruit Mr Andy Palmer, the former chief planning officer at Nissan Motor, to take over as chief executive officer after Aston Martin went a year without a top executive.

The Gaydon, England-based manufacturer is the only global luxury car brand that is not part of a larger group. That makes it tricky for Aston Martin to fund the research and development needed to compete with Volkswagen AG's Bentley and Fiat Chrysler's Maserati.

Still, Investindustrial has no plans to sell its holding anytime soon. Mr Bonomi said the investment was made with the intention of keeping it for seven to 10 years, which would give the brand time to develop a new generation of vehicles.

More details on Aston Martin's plans will be revealed at the Geneva motor show in March. There, Mr Palmer "will give a clear indication of where the brand is going", including the potential for an Aston Martin sport-utility vehicle, Mr Bonomi said.

"We're at the beginning of the revamp plan."

A crossover could help Aston Martin broaden its appeal in markets such as China, where models aside from sports cars are in demand, Mr Bonomi said. Bentley and Maserati are also developing SUVs.

Aside from the Italian private- equity firm, Aston Martin's other main shareholders are Kuwaiti companies Investment Dar and Adeem Investment Co.

Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz has an agreement to acquire a 5 per cent stake in Aston Martin in exchange for providing the sports-car producer with components such as engines and automotive electronics.

 
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