Could Mercedes-Benz one day buy Aston Martin outright? That’s been one path of speculation since parent firm Daimler acquired 5% of Aston in an engine and technology supply deal in 2013. But it’s now a dead end: the CEO has ruled out any deeper Anglo-German takeover.
Speaking to trade title Automotive News Europe, Daimler chief exec Dieter Zetsche said Mercedes-Benz had no plans to buy Aston Martin outright nor increase its stake.
The news means that Aston Martin looks set on an independent path, for the time being.
Dieter Zetsche rules out an Aston Martin takeover
‘I don't think we could do a better job running a 4000-units-a-year company than Aston Martin's management,’ Zetsche told ANE.
He said that the difference in scale of the two companies - Merc sells well over 1 million vehicles a year, while Aston makes just a few thousand - meant that Daimler had no interest in acquiring a greater stake in the British sports car specialist. Doubtless, many at Merc remember the ill-fated partnership with Chrysler and the unravelled McLaren alliance of recent years.
The Germans already own 5% of Aston Martin, in return for agreeing to supply Mercedes-Benz engines, electrical architectures and other technology with Gaydon. Click here for the full Aston Martin-Mercedes partnership news.
Zetsche revealed that no money changed hands in this deal; Aston wins by getting AMG V8s, but no cash injection.
What next for Aston Martin?
Aston Martin looks set to remain on an independent footing. The new chief executive, Andy Palmer poached from a senior product planning role at Nissan, started on 1 October 2014 and his hands are full crafting a new strategy and replacing an ageing product line-up.
His most pressing priorities are to nearly double Aston sales to around 7000-8000 cars a year and rekindle the technolology underpinning the sports car range. Could that number include an SUV? The odds are looking set against a 4x4, badged Lagonda or otherwise, CAR understands.