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Mercedes eyes Aston Martin purchase

Rumours are circulating that Mercedes is considering the buyout of British supercar maker, Aston Martin. After being owned for many years by Ford, Aston Martin was sold to a consortium led by David Richards and backed by Kuwaiti investment vehicle, Investment Dar. Later, Italian investment firm, InvestIndustrial, took a stake. Since then, the Gaydon firm has had mixed fortunes.

Rumours are circulating that Mercedes is considering the buyout of British supercar maker, Aston Martin. After being owned for many years by Ford, Aston Martin was sold to a consortium led by David Richards and backed by Kuwaiti investment vehicle, Investment Dar. Later, Italian investment firm, InvestIndustrial, took a stake. Since then, the Gaydon firm has had mixed fortunes. It has released some excellent cars and has more on the drawing board but it has so far failed to have the success in emerging markets being enjoyed by the likes of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR).

Mercedes’ specialist AMG division recently struck a deal to supply Aston Martin with a new range of V8 engines, which will power the next generation of Vantage models. The German carmaker also owns around 5% of Aston Martin stock and Mercedes boss, Dieter Zetsche, did not appear to rule out the possibility of an acquisition when he said: “This is a fantastic brand, and we are willing to support its further development,” in response to questions about Mercedes’ intentions towards Aston Martin. It could make a lot of sense for Aston Martin to get in bed with a company with pockets as deep as those of Mercedes, especially as other suitors appear to be thin on the ground.

For the moment, the V8 engine deal is going ahead, with Aston Martin supplying Mercedes with its desired specifications for the engine and the German company’s AMG division tweaking the Mercedes power plant to meet those requirements and producing the engines in Germany. So far, both companies are keeping the technical details pretty close to their chests but the best guess is that the engine will be a 480bhp bi-turbo 4.0 litre V8. This is very similar to the engine being developed for the C63 AMG and would make more economic sense than an entirely new unit.

The signs for a takeover look positive, though. In the past, Mercedes has confirmed that it would like to extend its partnership with Aston Martin and both companies have dropped large hints that the relationship could be extended to Mercedes supplying platforms and chassis as well as engines and electronic components. A takeover could also lead to the realisation of the Lagonda SUV concept car, which was based on the Mercedes GL platform. If the deal goes through, it would increase German ownership of the British motor industry. Already, MINI is owned by BMW, as is Rolls-Royce, with Volkswagen owning Bentley.

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