British sports car maker Aston Martin expects to sell fewer cars this year compared to last year due to the economic crisis, the company’s chief executive told German newspaper Die Welt in an interview. Aston Martin sold 5,800 sports cars last year, which was the second-best year in the company’s 95-year history, Ulrich Bez told the paper in an article published on Saturday. “In light of the current weakening in consumer spending we expect 4,500 to 5,000 unit sales this year,” Bez said. Islamic investment firm Investment Dar (TIDK.KW) owns a controlling stake in Aston Martin. The fund was part of a consortium that bought the automaker for about $950 million from Ford Motor Co (F.N) in March 2007.
Aston Martin may cut as many as 600 jobs, the British sports car brand said today. The possible cuts of 300 full-time jobs along with “a similar number” of temporary positions are part of a discussion between the former Ford Motor Co. subsidiary and its trade union. Aston Martin also said it’s considering other undisclosed cutbacks related to worldwide economic woes and plunging sales. “These are regrettable but necessary measures in the extraordinary market conditions we all now face,” Aston Martin CEO Ulrich Bez said in a statement. The cutbacks come as the automaker seeks to revive the Lagonda luxury brand to diversify its product mix beyond sports cars.
The MG sports car is now back on sale in Britain. The company’s story is an amazing one of survival since the birth of the marque in the 1920s. It survived ownership by BMC, British Leyland, BMW and is now in Chinese hands. Yet, this nifty little sports car is still there bearing its badge with pride. So with the rebirth of the brand in Britain, it is perhaps appropriate to look at the model which drove MG into modern times. The MG TD was arguably the most popular of all the T series cars. It followed the success of the TC Midget which made inroads into the United States market. Underpinned by the success of the TC, the TD answered calls for a bigger and better equipped car. MG was then owned by the Nuffield Group and as the […]
The Telegraph is reporting that more than 100 people have applied to buy the One-77, the most expensive road car in the world, even though only 77 will be made. The 200mph car was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show this week, and Aston Martin said that the growing financial gloom had not hit sales. “The interest is incredible,” chief designer Marek Reichmann told The Sun newspaper. Aston Martin has been reluctant to release details about the One-77, but it is known to have a 7.0 litre V12 engine, carbon fibre chassis, and aluminium body. “One-77 fuses advanced technology with stunning Aston Martin design to create possibly the world’s most desirable automotive art form,” the Warwickshire-based carmaker said. It will “deliver exhilarating performance for a strictly limited number of discerning customers”, the according to the firm.
It scorches from 0-60mph in less than four seconds, its batteries can be charged in ten minutes and you can imagine James Bond sitting behind the wheel. But will the über-stylish electric Lightning car ever make money? Earlier this year, entrepreneur Iain Sanderson unveiled the Lightning Car at the British International Motor Show. The 48-year-old Sanderson is a marketer, not a motorhead. He made his bucks through marketing agency Dynamo, which he set up in 1990 and sold a decade later for £20m. Rather than opting for retirement, Sanderson set up London-based Contact Group, which has six different marketing agencies under its wing and pulls in sales of £12m. So what on earth made this millionaire marketing guru develop a battery-powered sports car? Two years ago, Sanderson bumped into his old friend Arthur Wolstenholme, long-time maker of the Ronart series […]
The stunning new Morgan Aeromax has been unveiled as the latest in a long line of British sports cars to use Avon tyres as official tyre supplier. The Avon Tyres brand offers a complete range of high performance tyres that are manufactured and marketed by Cooper Tire & Rubber Company Europe. Classic British manufacturer, Morgan, chose Avon’s trusted ZZ3 as the perfect choice for their brand new 362bhp, 170mph machine, which has a 0-62mph speed of just 4.5 seconds. The Aeromax will be Morgan’s flagship model as the marque heads into its 100th anniversary year in 2009. The Avon ZZ3 was selected because of its excellent road holding in both wet and dry conditions and its predictable high-performance handling characteristics suit the powerful car perfectly. The Aeromax will use Avon’s 225/35 R19 XL 88Y XL ZZ3 at the front and […]
MUNICH — BMW plans to export nearly 500 electric versions of its Mini car to California, company sources said. The electric Minis are being built at the Mini factory in Oxford, England, without engines, gearboxes or fuel tanks, then shipped to Munich, Germany, where they are being fitted with electric powertrains. BMW sources told Automotive News Europe that 490 of the Minis will be leased to selected customers in California and 10 will be used as show cars. The electric Minis are painted silver and have yellow roofs, the sources said. BMW engineers working on the electric Minis are part of a new division called Project i established by the automaker to develop low-emission city cars. The electric Minis will help BMW to meet new California regulations that will require carmakers selling cars in the state to offer zero emission […]
Consortium leader Dave Richards is quashing speculation that luxury sports car maker Aston Martin is for sale. “The company is not for sale,” Richards insisted during the Nurburgring 24-hour race last weekend, where Aston’s N24 Vantages finished 1-2-3 in their class. “This speculation is only there because we are talking to people all the time about engines,” Richards said. “But we are always talking to people, and it doesn’t mean we’re for sale.” Richard led a partnership that included two Middle East investment firms to take over Aston Martin from Ford Motor Co. last year. Since then rumors have circulated that the Prodrive boss and his investors would be happy to turn a quick dollar. But Richards’ denial is his most emphatic statement yet about Aston’s long-term future. The company’s future engine supply is less certain, though. Aston’s V8s are […]
Aston Martin has revealed more shots of its new Vantage GT2. The latest Aston racer was first shown as sketches in January. It also was seen at a test at the Paul Ricard circuit in southern France in March. The Vantage GT2 fills out Aston Martin’s GT lineup, giving it a competitor in each category. Three teams have signed up to drive the Vantage GT2: James Watt Automotive, Drayson-Barwell and Gigawave. The car will make its race debut in the first round of the Le Mans Series on April 5 at Barcelona, Spain. The Vantage GT2 can run on standard fuel or E85 ethanol. It’s based on the V8-powered Vantage road car. Source: AutoWeek
A nice write up on the Aston Martin DBS over at Search Chicago Autos. Dan Jedlicka starts out by saying, “Some folks may consider the new $265,000 Aston Martin DBS too gorgeous to drive because it looks more like a million bucks. But the shapely, mechanically advanced DBS coupe is designed to be driven daily, even if it can hit 191 mph with its hand-assembled 510-horsepower V-12 engine, said John Walton, vice president and general manager of Aston Martin North America at a recent media preview of the DBS here.” Read more on the Seach Chicago Autos site.
An entry list of 27 cars has been revealed for the 2008 Avon Tyres British GT Championship featuring 19 cars in GT3 and eight in the new GT4 class. Defending champions RPM will run two cars in the GT3 class and also expand into GT4 with a further three cars. Former BTCC race-winner Paul O’Neill will partner Steve Clark in the #1 entry while Nick Foster will be partnered by experienced youngster Oliver Bryant in the sister car. In GT4, the team will run three Ginetta G50s for the pairings of Steve Tandy/Phil Bailey, Joe Osbourne/Michael Broadhurst and Chris Cooke/James Harrison.
Vauxhall is overhauling the design of its famous Griffin badge and will give the new logo a much bigger presence on the face of all its new models, starting with this summer’s redesigned Insignia, the Vectra replacement. The Griffin badge currently shares space on the nose of Vauxhall’s models with a chrome V-shaped finisher, which will remain a feature on the nose of models. But the redesigned Griffin will be the dominant identity on the nose of the Insignia, with other models getting the new badge as they are facelifted or replaced. “Time has come for the Griffin badge to get an update, just as our new model range needs,” says a Vauxhall source. The move will bring Vauxhall more in line with German sister-company Opel, whose circular badge crossed with a zig-zag dominates the front of its versions of […]
Rolls-Royce’s new Phantom Coupe brought in conquest customers ahead of its launch at the Geneva motor show on Tuesday. “Two-thirds [of the names] in our early order bank are from non Rolls-Royce owners,” said CEO Ian Robertson as he unveiled the new model. “It means we’re beginning to appeal to a broader audience. “We’ve already sold a clear 200 or more,” Robertson said. The Phantom Coupe was previewed by the 101EX concept car, which was shown at Geneva two years ago. The production model retains the look and many of the features of the 101EX, including the much-admired starlight headliner and the option of polished metal hood and windsheld frame. The Phantom Coupe is a sportier Rolls-Royce, said Robertson. “But it is still very clearly not a sports car.” The 200-plus orders for the Phantom Coupe mean that planned production […]
The Telegraph is reporting that Ulrich Bez has not just been turning around legendary car maker Aston Martin, but he has been leading them to profit. To quote the Telegraph, “Are profits still growing? Aston Martin has not yet published its 2007 financial results but Bez says: ‘Usually when there is a change of ownership you can say that a company will go through a difficult time for a year or two. We have not seen any of that. We have not lost any of the motivation that we had under Ford where we were a very enthusiastic team. We have been profitable since the last quarter of 2005 and we have increased that profitability year on year.’”
It’s been twenty years since Aston Martin, deeply in debt and little more than an automotive anachronism, was swallowed up by Ford empire. Say what you will about Ford’s other British luxury marques, the past two decades have been good ones for Aston. When Ford acquired the brand, in 1987, Aston sales plunged to as little as 42 cars a year and at one point, keeping the assembly line rolling depended on the sale of a single car to a wealthy — and quite drunk — British aristocrat. These days, Aston’s aspirations are positively mass-market, with an array of new products promising to push volume up near 10,000 cars a year, and the company well in the black for the first time in its 93-year history. That’ll be good news for the new owners, David Richards, CEO of racing’s Prodrive […]
Almost three quarters of UK consumers would buy British if given a £100,000 budget to spend on a new car, according to new research from online insurance company swiftcover.com. Sweeping aside their German and Italian rivals, British marques emerge as unanimous favorites amongst UK car buyers, with 69 per cent claiming they would opt for a British brand if they had the money to do so. Topping the ‘Dream Car’ list with almost a quarter of the votes is Aston Martin (24%), followed by Range Rover (19%), Bentley (16%) and Rolls Royce (10%). German and Italian luxury marques faired badly by comparison – with just one per cent opting for a Lamborghini, 9 per cent for a Ferrari, 9 per cent for a Porsche and 2 per cent for a Maserati. The top ten swiftcover.com “Dream Cars” for 2008 are: […]
Aston Martin could co-operate with Daimler AG’s Mercedes on ventures ranging from engines to new models, the British luxury carmaker’s majority shareholder, Kuwait’s Investment Dar, said on Tuesday. Adham Charanoglu, business development manager for Investment Dar, which bought Aston Martin from Ford Motor Company last March, said it had held talks with Mercedes and with LVMH’s Louis Vuitton and PPR’s Gucci on branded merchandising. Charanoglu told the Reuters Islamic Finance Summit that plans to overhaul Aston Martin merchandising had yet to be finished but included opening new centers dedicated to the marquee — made famous by James Bond — in the UK, the Gulf and possibly the U.S. Any brand development would need to be at the top end of the luxury market, with opportunities stretching from apparel, owners’ events and track racing to real estate, Charanoglu said, adding Aston […]