Canadian billionaire becomes front-runner for Aston Martin stake, report says

Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll is emerging as the front-runner to buy a stake in luxury carmaker Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings as interest from a rival Chinese investor wanes, people with knowledge of the matter said.
Chinese tycoon Li Shufu’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group is cooling on the idea of a deal with Aston Martin, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Aston Martin could decide on its plan of action as early as this month, according to the people.
Stroll has been discussing a potential investment of about 200 million pounds ($261 million) in the British automobile manufacturer, Bloomberg News reported earlier. Aston Martin spoke to several investors about a potential capital increase as it makes a final effort to bring in fresh funding, people with knowledge of the matter said at the time.
No final agreements have been reached, and the carmaker could fail to reach an agreement or decide against bringing in new investors, the people said. Representatives for Aston Martin and Geely declined to comment, while a representative for Stroll couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Source: autonewscom

Aston Martin’s Latest Savior Should Surprise No One

The UK firm, which is publicly traded, could really use all the help it can get. The all-new Aston Martin DBX SUV, which is about to go on sale, needs to be a sales success but betting everything on a single model is not a good way to run a car company. The stock market is keenly aware of that as shares of Aston Martin rose by 15 percent last Friday once news of the Geely talks became public.At the moment, a majority of Aston Martin’s shares are held by the Kuwait-based Adeem/Primewagon group. The Strategic European Investment Group holds about one-third of Aston’s shares. Daimler owns 5 percent of the carmaker as well. As of this writing, both Geely and Stroll have refused to comment on any reports regarding their potential respective investments.
Source: carbuzz.com

Aston Martin draws suitors after profit warning

Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings, the British maker of fast cars, is reportedly holding more talks with potential investors as it comes under growing financial pressure.
China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. is mulling a stake in the ailing company, Sky News said on Saturday without disclosing the source of the information. The Financial Times also reported talks have been held with Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., citing unidentified sources.
Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll is also close to injecting a further 200 million pounds ($261 million) into the company, which would give him 19.9 percent control, the FT added.
Geely is conducting due diligence as it considers taking a stake in the 107-year-old U.K. firm, the FT said, citing four people familiar with the discussions.
The talks come almost a month after Aston Martin confirmed it was in early-stage talks with potential investors as it launched a review of funding.
Earlier this week, Aston Martin warned its 2019 profits would fall almost by half due to weak European markets.
Geely sees potential synergies on technologies and vehicle platforms between Aston Martin and its own Lotus brand, the source familiar with the discussions told Reuters.
A spokesman for Aston declined to comment on whether the company is in talks with Geely, and reiterated a statement from Tuesday.
“We also remain in discussions with potential strategic investors, which may or may not involve an equity investment into the company,” he said.
A spokesman for Geely Europe declined to comment.
Daimler, which owns a 5 percent stake in Aston Martin and supplies it with Mercedes-AMG engines, supports efforts by the British carmaker to secure a long-term future, the source said.
Daimler declined to comment.
Geely’s chairman, Li Shufu, owns a 9.69 percent stake in Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler. Geely and Daimler run the Smart city car brand as a joint venture out of China.
Source: autonewscom

This Is Our Best Look Yet At The Aston Martin V12 Speedster

Aston Martin has said the V12 Speedster is inspired by the CC100 concept and the legendary DBR1, and the design inspirations are clear to see. With its short rear deck, long hood, and a lack of windshield and roof, the driver-focused sports car boasts classic speedster proportions that were commonly seen on historic race cars.The integrated side vent and hood intakes look very aggressive. Other design features include a rear spoiler providing downforce, unique headlights and taillights, and an instantly recognizable grille shared with Aston Martin DB models. From the design sketches, the Aston Martin V12 Speedster looks stunning and we can’t wait to see what it looks like in the metal.
Source: carbuzz.com

The Aston Martin Rapide E Is Already Dead

An inside source has told Autocar the Rapide E will become a research project for Aston Martin’s electrification program but no customer cars will be produced. The publication was unable to confirm how many orders were received or if any customer refunds will need to be issued.The production version of the Rapide E shown in Shanghai packed an all-electric powertrain developed by Williams Advanced Engineering featuring a pair of electric motors delivering 610 horsepower and 700 lb-ft of torque and a 65-kWh lithium-ion battery. 0-62 mph takes less than four seconds before the Rapide E maxes out at 155 mph.
Source: carbuzz.com

Geely in talks to take stake in Aston Martin, reports say

China’s Geely Automobile Holding is in talks with Aston Martin management and investors about taking a stake in the British luxury carmaker, according to a source familiar with the discussions and the Financial Times on Friday.
Geely is conducting due diligence as it considers taking a stake in the 107-year-old U.K. firm, the FT said, citing four people familiar with the discussions.
The talks come almost a month after Aston Martin confirmed it was in early-stage talks with potential investors as it launched a review of funding.
Earlier this week, Aston Martin warned its 2019 profits would fall almost by half due to weak European markets.
Geely sees potential synergies on technologies and vehicle platforms between Aston Martin and its own Lotus brand, the source familiar with the discussions told Reuters.
A spokesman for Aston declined to comment on whether the company is in talks with Geely, and reiterated a statement from Tuesday.
“We also remain in discussions with potential strategic investors, which may or may not involve an equity investment into the company,” he said.
A spokesman for Geely Europe declined to comment.
Daimler, which owns a 5 percent stake in Aston Martin and supplies it with Mercedes-AMG engines, supports efforts by the British carmaker to secure a long-term future, the source said.
Daimler declined to comment.
Geely’s chairman, Li Shufu, owns a 9.69 percent stake in Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler. Geely and Daimler run the Smart city car brand as a joint venture out of China.
Source: autonewscom

2019 Was A Bad Year For Aston Martin

Aston Martin’s financial problems are no secret. Last year, falling car sales in Europe and the UK and weak sales for the Vantage prompted the automaker to reduce its sales and profits forecasts. In the first nine months of 2019, the company posted a pre-tax loss of $118 million. Now, Aston Martin has warned its annual profit for 2019 will almost halve. According to Reuters, disappointing December sales have led to wholesale volumes falling by seven percent in 2019.As a result, Aston Martin expects 2019 profits to be between £130 million and £140 million before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), compared to £247.3 million ($325 million) in 2018.
Source: carbuzz.com

Aston Martin Has A V12 Surprise For McLaren And Ferrari

As its name suggests, power will come from the firm’s 5.2-liter twin-turbo V12, now estimated to produce 690 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, slightly down from the 715 hp and 664 lb-ft available with the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera. A ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic gearbox will send power to the rear wheels.As expected, that V12’s soundtrack will be best heard from the driver’s seat. Q by Aston Martin, the company’s in-house bespoke division, has been charged with building all 88 examples. The teaser image shows a very sleek, front-engined machine that combines the brand’s racing heritage with modern design along with “cutting-edge motorsport and aviation technology.” Unfortunately, no details were given about that technology. Aston Martin’s recently announced joint effort with Airbus to launch a new special-edition helicopter is one potential tech source.
Source: carbuzz.com

FCA names Sproule as new N.A. communications chief

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles named Simon Sproule its chief communications officer in North America, effective Feb. 3.
Sproule, 51, was vice president and chief marketing officer for Aston Martin Lagonda, where he led an integrated marketing and corporate communications function, a press release said Tuesday.
Before his position at Aston Martin, Sproule held roles in communications at Tesla Inc., Nissan Motor Co. and Ford Motor Co.
“Simon brings a wealth of automotive experience, including a deep understanding of both mass market and luxury brands,” FCA CEO Mike Manley said in the release. “He is joining FCA at an unprecedented time as we embark on an electrified, connected and autonomous future for our brands and, at the same time, create a new entity as we work toward a merger with PSA.”
Sproule replaces Niel Golightly, 61, who held the position at FCA starting in December 2018 and is now chief communications officer for Boeing Co.
Source: autonewscom

Aston Martin warns profits to almost halve after grim December

Aston Martin warned its annual profit would almost halve as tough trading conditions continued through its peak month of December.
The automaker’s wholesale volumes fell 7 percent in 2019 as the automaker sought to reduce dealer stocks, with Europe underperforming the rest of its markets.
Aston Martin expects 2019 adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of between 130 million pounds and 140 million pounds, compared with 247.3 million pounds ($325 million) a year earlier.
“From a trading perspective, 2019 has been a very disappointing year,” CEO Andy Palmer said.
The company now expected an adjusted EBITDA margin of 12.5 percent to 13.5 percent in 2019, down from 22.6 percent in 2018, Palmer said.
Aston Martin said it was reviewing its planning for 2020, which includes a cost-cutting program, and added that it was still in talks with investors for a potential equity investment.
Last month, industry magazine Autocar reported that Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll is planning a bid for the company.
Aston Martin’s retail sales grew 12 percent in 2019, helped by a reasonably good performance in the U.K.
“Since the election, we have a great degree of certainty, which is certainly welcome,” Palmer said, referring to a sweeping victory by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives in a national election on Dec. 12.
The company has made progress reducing inventory, which is still “a bit higher than we would like,” Palmer said.
Aston Martin said in 2019 it had to boost customer financing support and increase marketing, especially in the U.S., which undermined its cost-savings plan.
The rally in the pound in December has also become an obstacle as it reduces the value of sales from abroad.
Aston Martin has turned out to be frustrating investment for shareholders who bought into the initial public offering in late 2018. The shares fell 57 percent in the course of 2019. By contrast, Ferrari’s stock returned 70 percent last year, highlighting the diverging fortunes between the two supercar brands.
Aston Martin cut its forecast for wholesale volumes and profit margins in July, and reduced its volume forecast again in November, citing weak U.K. and European markets and subdued demand for its Vantage model.
SUV focus
Aston Martin has focused its efforts on the DBX SUV, which it unveiled last year to break into a lucrative yet increasingly crowded market.
The DBX sits at the heart of plans to more than double annual output to 14,000 autos by 2023.
About 1,800 orders have been booked for the DBX since its launch in November, the company said, meeting a condition it had to obtain a follow-on loan for $100 million.
“The DBX is the one bright spot,” Palmer said. “The order rate is materially better than any other car that we have ever launched before,” he told Reuters.
Bloomberg contributed to this report
Source: autonewscom