The Truth About Cars » Aston Martin http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 03 Sep 2015 19:10:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Aston Martin http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Aston Martin CEO Throws Rocks at Glass House, From Glass House http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/aston-martin-ceo-throws-rocks-glass-house-glass-house/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/aston-martin-ceo-throws-rocks-glass-house-glass-house/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 18:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1148665 Gearing up to sell its own four-door, all-electric sedan in a couple years, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer told well-heeled listeners in Monterey, California that Tesla’s “Ludicrous Speed” was plain ol’ dumb, Automotive News reported. “We don’t do Ludicrous because Ludicrous speed is stupid,” Palmer said. (But selling a variation of a four-door Aston Martin […]

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AstonMartinRapide

Gearing up to sell its own four-door, all-electric sedan in a couple years, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer told well-heeled listeners in Monterey, California that Tesla’s “Ludicrous Speed” was plain ol’ dumb, Automotive News reported.

“We don’t do Ludicrous because Ludicrous speed is stupid,” Palmer said.

(But selling a variation of a four-door Aston Martin that’s been on sale for 6 years with a 200-mile range for $200,000 to $250,000? That’s genius.)

Palmer also described Aston Martin’s upcoming DBX, an all-wheel drive crossover four-door that could go on sale as early as 2019. That car could be offered as a plug-in hybrid, an all-gasoline model and eventually as an all-electric vehicle, according to the report.

Few details about the all-electric Rapide were made available, however. The four-door sedan could boast around 800 horsepower and a 200-mile range.

Aston Martin currently sells the gasoline Rapide for just over $200,000 in the U.S. Tesla’s Model S P85D with Ludicrous Speed update costs $118,000 before incentives.

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Good News: 3D-printed Aston Martin Project is Back On http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/good-news-3d-printed-aston-martin-project-back/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/good-news-3d-printed-aston-martin-project-back/#comments Thu, 06 Aug 2015 21:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1135610 Ivan Sentch, the New Zealander who is 3D printing an Aston Martin DB4 and building the car in his garage, is back at it after a two-year hiatus, he told us today. In an email, Sentch said he’s moved into a new house and is bringing the car back into the garage where he’ll pick […]

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3d-printed Aston Martin

Ivan Sentch, the New Zealander who is 3D printing an Aston Martin DB4 and building the car in his garage, is back at it after a two-year hiatus, he told us today.

In an email, Sentch said he’s moved into a new house and is bringing the car back into the garage where he’ll pick at the project, bit by bit, until he’s done.

“It’ll just be a couple of hours at night after the kids go to sleep but you’d be surprised how much you can get done doing just a little bit each day,” said Sentch.

Kinda puts our Facebook meandering before bed to shame, really. 

Sentch said he has the remaining body panels printed, but that he’s far from done with the project. He’ll need to finish the mold, shape the body from fiber glass and insert the mechanicals, from which he’s taking from a 1993 Nissan Skyline GT-S.

3d-printed Aston Martin

Besides being an automotive hero, Sentch is just a programmer with a solidoodler who really wanted an Aston Martin DB4. After he’s done with the plug, he’ll have about five years left to go, he estimates.

That’s just the best news all day.

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RUMOR: Aston Martin Tipped For Deal With Mercedes-Powered Red Bull Racing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/rumor-aston-martin-tipped-for-deal-with-mercedes-powered-red-bull-racing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/rumor-aston-martin-tipped-for-deal-with-mercedes-powered-red-bull-racing/#comments Sun, 05 Jul 2015 17:40:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1108025 The latest rumor to involve Formula 1 also involves a former Nissan executive and one of Britain’s most recognized marques. A report from Autocar sees former world champion team Red Bull ditching their troublesome Renault power units and switching to Mercedes motivation with an Aston Martin logo painted on the air box of the single […]

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Aston Martin Logo

The latest rumor to involve Formula 1 also involves a former Nissan executive and one of Britain’s most recognized marques.

A report from Autocar sees former world champion team Red Bull ditching their troublesome Renault power units and switching to Mercedes motivation with an Aston Martin logo painted on the air box of the single seater.

And there might be some truth to it.

It’s no secret that multiple world champion team Red Bull Racing is less than pleased with its Renault power units as it struggles at the middle of the pack. It’s also no secret that Mercedes would like to bolster the number of teams to which it supplies engines in an effort to amortize the cost of development. A deal between Red Bull Racing and Mercedes F1 may be in the works that suits the needs of both parties and it could come by way of Aston Martin and its CEO Andy Palmer.

With Mercedes holding 5-percent ownership in the British luxury marque and more cooperation planned in the future, the German automaker does not see Aston Martin as a direct road car competitor, thus opening the door for the deal.

Andy Palmer, before his current position at Aston Martin, was the head of product for Nissan and played a major part in Red Bull Racing’s deal with Infiniti. The rumored deal between Red Bull Racing and Aston Martin would be very similar to the Infiniti deal, where Aston Martin branding is visible on Red Bull Racing’s Formula 1 cars and the British manufacturer would provide technical expertise to the team.

When asked by Autocar, a spokesman for Aston Martin declined to comment on the rumor. However, when Autocar posed the question to Mercedes F1 team principal Toto Wolff at this weekend’s British Grand Prix, the door was left open a sliver.

“We must be open-minded. Our number one objective is to win the world championship. At the moment I would say I cannot see a situation of us supplying an engine to our number one enemy – but maybe we need to recalibrate who our number one enemy is tomorrow and next year.”

The deal likely won’t happen next year, though, as Red Bull Racing and Renault are bound to contract until the end of 2016. After that, it’s anyone’s guess where the Milton Keynes-based team will source its power, said Red Bull principal Christian Horner:

“Last week it was Ferrari, this week it’s Aston Martin, next week it will probably be Honda or Lamborghini. We have a contract and commitment with Infiniti, a very good relationship with Infiniti, and anything beyond the end of 2016 is purely speculative.”

Aston Martin last contested Formula 1 in 1959 and 1960.

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The Ultimate Fit: Aston Martin Van Damn! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/ultimate-fit-aston-martin-van-damn/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/ultimate-fit-aston-martin-van-damn/#comments Mon, 15 Jun 2015 12:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1092177 Introducing a brand new column at TTAC: The Ultimate Fit, where you get to figure out the unfortunate souls who would best fit for the rolling relics of the used car world. Let’s take this 15 year old, 3-door Chrysler minivan with only 59,000 original miles. Better yet, you take it and try to find the perfect buyer. […]

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2000 Chrysler Voyager

Introducing a brand new column at TTAC: The Ultimate Fit, where you get to figure out the unfortunate souls who would best fit for the rolling relics of the used car world.

Let’s take this 15 year old, 3-door Chrysler minivan with only 59,000 original miles. Better yet, you take it and try to find the perfect buyer.

2000 Chrysler Voyager

This 2000 Chrysler Voyager represents the best and worst of the Clinton Era minivans. On the plus side, you get a stunning lack of standard features that were doomed to fail somewhere between the Al Gore presidential campaign and the undoing of the Patriot Act.

2000 Chrysler Voyager

No plastic wheel covers that would likely look like broken frisbees by this point. No passenger door for the driver’s side that would probably drop off its hinge. No rear air, which also happens to be a retail killer here in Georgia. As a sixth strike here in heat and humidity central, this minivan supplements the lack of a rear chiller with no tinting of any serious consequence for the side and rear windows. You better have a garage if you buy this one!

2000 Chrysler Voyager

On paper, this appears to be one of those unsellable cars. But wait, are those aftermarket power windows on the left hand side of the door? The interior is relatively clean which adds some healthy bonus points to what is a spartan interior. The 2.4L four-cylinder seeing a 16 year run in the Neon and PT Cruiser has a similar presence in these particular Chrysler minivans. I strongly prefer the widely revered 3.3L V6, but this particular van may be better than most others of its time, given it’s the last year of its generation and the interior hasn’t been hopelessly white-trashed all to hell.

 

This was more than likely a retiree’s van. All three rows are there and the little things, such as the plasticized bumpers and rear taillights, are still fully intact and in cosmetically sound shape. That isn’t too common when it comes to these 15+ year old mini minivans. So, who should buy it?

2002 Aston Martin DB7

Vehicle #2 is a rolling testament to the Travis Tritt song T-R-O-U-B-L -E.

2002 Aston Martin DB7

This is a 2002 Aston Martin DB7 Vantage. 4 owners. 29,000 original miles. Plus one of these unusual units.

2002 Aston Martin DB7

It may look exotic, but what you’re really getting are two Ford Duratec engines fused together in one powerplant. The 5.9 Liter V12 offers a rip roaring 424 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque, which apparently helps make this car the perfect long-distance highway cruiser according to the folks at Car & Driver. This Aston Martin may have never trounced a competitor in the comparos of yesteryear, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a helluva bang-for-the-buck for the used car shopper who can handle the maintenance and the fuel bills.

2002 Aston Martin DB7

Those seats are drop dead gorgeous… and the dash is…

2002 Aston Martin DB7

Pretty nice from about seven feet away. Let’s get closer…

2002 Aston Martin DB7

Well that looks a bit retro. I wonder about those three little holes. Up close it detracts a bit from the design – although, I would probably appreciate the ease of removing that section of the car soon enough. On the other hand, the steering wheel is…

2002 Aston Martin DB7

A bit large, and surprisingly spartan compared to the modern day 24 button à la carte which seems to come standard in everything from Camrys to Cadillacs these days. To be frank, I like the Aston Martin’s approach a lot better than the modern day one.

2002 Aston Martin DB7

There are some unusual benefits to owning a car whose design dates back to 1994 and was conceived in a less technologically complex time. The 11 miles per gallon in the city would make it a gas hog par excellence for intown, but the 19 miles per gallon on the highway would likely be worth the long-term experience for that highly unusual customer who wants to rack miles on an exotic convertible cruiser with distinctly British flair.

2002 Aston Martin DB7

Or maybe it would be better off as a Sunday driver and a glorified museum place. I always loved the looks of these things, but never enough to pull the trigger on one.

So what type of customers would make the best customers for the Aston Van… and the minivan? You make the call!

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Weekend News Round-up: 2016 Mazda MX-5 Reviews, Lane-Splitting is Safer and Aston Martin Going Electric http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/weekend-news-round-up-2016-mazda-mx-5-reviews/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/weekend-news-round-up-2016-mazda-mx-5-reviews/#comments Mon, 01 Jun 2015 12:14:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1080681 Surprise! TTAC didn’t have a single writer at the Mazda MX-5 media preview. Instead, here’s a few different reviews of Japan’s favorite roadster from other outlets and a run-down of what you may have missed over the weekend.   MIATA! MIATA! MIATA! 2016 Mazda MX-5 Review (AutoGuide) “A smaller Miata is a better Miata.” 2016 Mazda […]

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2016 Mazda MX-5

Surprise! TTAC didn’t have a single writer at the Mazda MX-5 media preview. Instead, here’s a few different reviews of Japan’s favorite roadster from other outlets and a run-down of what you may have missed over the weekend.

 

MIATA! MIATA! MIATA!

2016 Mazda MX-52016 Mazda MX-5 Review (AutoGuide)
“A smaller Miata is a better Miata.”

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata 2.0L First Drive (AutoBlog)
“Championing the roadster revolution.”

2016 Mazda MX-5 MiataFirst Drive: 2016 Mazda Miata (The Detroit Bureau)
“Forward into the past.”

2016 Mazda MX-5 MiataThe 2016 Mazda Miata Is Undeniably Fantastic (Jalopnik)
“This car rocks.” Travis says a longer review will be available later this morning. UPDATE: It’s up.

2016 mazda mx-5 miata club2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Tested! (Car & Driver)
“The Meta Miata.”

 

NOT MIATA! NOT MIATA! NOT MIATA!

la-fi-hy-lanesplitting-safe-uc-berkeley-studyLane-splitting for motorcycles is safe, says landmark Berkeley study (LA Times)
Bottom line: riders who lane-split are safer overall and accidents involving lane-splitting are less likely to cause serious injury than other motorcycle accidents. California is on the cusp of making lane-splitting legal.

Speedhunters' Cars Of May 2015Revisiting The Cars Of May (Speedhunters)
“With the sixth month of the year now upon us, it’s time to take a look back at the feature cars of May 2015.”

aston-spypics-2015-002_0Aston Martin plots future hybrid models (Autocar)
Another builder of sporting GT cars is planning a drive down Electric Avenue. Aston Martin could also see its lineup expand to seven separate models.

nissan_pathfinder_mainNissan rules out Navara-based SUV… for now (GoAuto.com.au)
Nissan Australia won’t be sourcing a truck-based SUV to go head-to-head with the Ford Everest, Toyota Fortuner and Holden Colorado 7. Australia also won’t get the new Murano even though it’s selling like hotcakes elsewhere.

dodge charger hellcatChallenge Won: We Do 11 Seconds in the Dodge Charger Hellcat (Cars.com)
“We set out to see how close we could get to 11.0 seconds with a factory-fresh 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat and drag strip rental of Byron Dragway in Byron, Ill.”

f1 gridFIA looking for a new F1 team (AutoBlog)
New team would bring total to 12 with 24 cars on the grid in addition to 2016 entrant Haas.

teslas inside showroomTesla loses fight with dealers to sell its cars in Texas (The Verge)
Two bills, which would have allowed direct sales of Tesla cars in Texas, have died on the floor.

nascar-cup-champions-week-2013-denny-hamlin-speaks-onstage-after-winning-the-coors-light-pSprint Cup competitors form Driver Council (Motorsport.com)
“We’ve been trying to get all of our drivers together for about a year now,” says Danny Hamlin. Just don’t call it a ‘union’.

Drifting at Goodwood Festival of SpeedGoodwood festival adds drifting category (AutoBlog)
The end is nigh.

Mad Max ScreenshotMad Max before and after shots show what’s real and what’s fake (The Verge)
Even without CG, the explosions in Mad Max are still apocalyptic.

More as the day goes on…

[Photo credit: AutoGuide/Adam Wood]

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While You Were Sleeping: Chevrolet Sub-Camaro, Toyota/Honda Best Supplier Customers and Aston Martin’s Crossover http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/sleeping-chevrolet-sub-camaro-toyotahonda-best-supplier-customers-aston-martins-crossover/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/sleeping-chevrolet-sub-camaro-toyotahonda-best-supplier-customers-aston-martins-crossover/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 08:59:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070074 As I fly down to Nashville to drive Nissan’s latest iteration of their 4DSC (“four-door sports car”) – the Maxima – we will have all the articles you expect on a Monday. Here’s what happened over the weekend. Aston Martin likely to shun Mercedes’ platform for DBX crossover (Automotive News) It seems Aston Martin won’t […]

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2016 Nissan Maxima

As I fly down to Nashville to drive Nissan’s latest iteration of their 4DSC (“four-door sports car”) – the Maxima – we will have all the articles you expect on a Monday.

Here’s what happened over the weekend.

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Aston Martin All-In On SUV, Lamborghini Still On Fence http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/aston-martin-suv-lamborghini-still-fence/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/aston-martin-suv-lamborghini-still-fence/#comments Fri, 01 May 2015 14:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1058346 Aston Martin is entering the high-end luxury SUV/crossover game, while Lamborghini is still debating whether or not the LM002 needs a successor. Aston Martin Lagonda announced Thursday it would commit £200 million ($305 million USD) to expanding its lineup. The capital investment will be in the form of preference shares, with the first £100 million […]

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Aston Martin Logo

Aston Martin is entering the high-end luxury SUV/crossover game, while Lamborghini is still debating whether or not the LM002 needs a successor.

Aston Martin Lagonda announced Thursday it would commit £200 million ($305 million USD) to expanding its lineup. The capital investment will be in the form of preference shares, with the first £100 million ($152 million) already issued and the remainder doled out over the next 12 months.

What does that investment buy? A new “luxury crossover GT” based upon the DBX concept shown at the 2015 Geneva and Shanghai auto shows, for one. CEO Andy Palmer said as much in the press release:

This additional long-term funding, will enable us to add extra model lines and broaden our presence in the luxury market segment by the end of the decade. The DBX concept, has generated interest far beyond our expectations. The additional investment announced today will allow us to realise the DBX and other new luxury vehicles that will form the strongest and most diverse portfolio in our history.

Meanwhile, Lamborghini is still thinking about adding an SUV to its lineup, though no decision has been made, as CEO Stephan Winkelmann told Autoblog last month:

If we do a third model, then it’s better to have the SUV as this is a growing segment, a more emotional segment, a segment which is very well-distributed in terms of volume all over the planet. And therefore this is a car which is more likely.

The potential successor of Lamborghini’s sole outing in the SUV market – the LM002 – would have a design more appealling to current Lamborghini owners. It would also bring a significant amount of sales to the brand: the Urus concept from 2012 was projected to move 3,000 units per year; the brand itself sold 2,530 units in 2014.

Winkelmann adds the SUV would be the perfect platform for a hybrid powertrain, citing the SUV’s packaging and weight behind the reasoning.

[Photo credit: Aston Martin]

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Geneva 2015: Aston Martin Vulcan Bows http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-aston-martin-vulcan-bows/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-aston-martin-vulcan-bows/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 11:37:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1012722 Before competition starts in 2016, the highly limited Aston Martin Vulcan track car officially debuted at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show. Only 24 examples of the FIA-certified Vulcans will ever be made, with each one to go for $2.3 million. For that price, one receives a 7-liter naturally aspirated V12 making a minimum of 800 […]

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Aston-Martin-Vulcan-3

Before competition starts in 2016, the highly limited Aston Martin Vulcan track car officially debuted at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show.

Only 24 examples of the FIA-certified Vulcans will ever be made, with each one to go for $2.3 million. For that price, one receives a 7-liter naturally aspirated V12 making a minimum of 800 horsepower, which is sent to the Michelins in the back through a six-speed sequential gearbox.

Stopping the beast is done through Brembo race calipers mated to carbon ceramic discs, while cornering is helped by Multimatic’s Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve adjustable dampers, anti-roll bars, and push-rod suspension.

The chosen few to pilot the Vulcan will be invited to improve their skills in an intensive driving course involving a few of Aston’s offerings, including the One-77, V12 Vantage S and Vantage GT4, before competing in a one-make series in 2016.

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Geneva 2015: Aston Martin DBX Concept Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-aston-martin-dbx-concept-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-aston-martin-dbx-concept-revealed/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 10:30:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1012370 Not content to let Tesla have all the fun, the Aston Martin DBX Concept shows its take on an all-electric “high luxury GT” crossover. The design study uses inboard electric motors for each wheel to move the crossover along, each motor powered by lithium sulphur cells. Steering the DBX Concept is done via drive-by-wire, while […]

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Aston-Martin-DBX-02-live

Not content to let Tesla have all the fun, the Aston Martin DBX Concept shows its take on an all-electric “high luxury GT” crossover.

The design study uses inboard electric motors for each wheel to move the crossover along, each motor powered by lithium sulphur cells. Steering the DBX Concept is done via drive-by-wire, while braking and energy regeneration is handled via its KERS system.

Four adults can make use of both front and rear cargo spaces on their way to the countryside, while the driver and front passenger can view driving data via the concept’s HUD. LED exterior lighting, rearview cameras, and a black pearl ensemble enhanced with a micro-fine layer of chrome are some of the other features available.

Aston-Martin-DBX-01-live Aston-Martin-DBX-02-live Aston-Martin-DBX-05-live Aston-Martin-DBX-06-live Aston-Martin-DBX-concept-04 Aston-Martin-DBX-concept-01 Aston-Martin-DBX-concept-03 Aston-Martin-DBX-concept-02 Aston-Martin-DBX-concept-09 Aston-Martin-DBX-concept-05 Aston-Martin-DBX-concept-interior-04 Aston-Martin-DBX-concept-interior-03 Aston-Martin-DBX-concept-interior-01 Aston-Martin-DBX-concept-interior-02

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Geneva 2015: Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Debuts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-aston-martin-vantage-gt3-debuts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-aston-martin-vantage-gt3-debuts/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 09:45:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1012074 Following the GT3s from Porsche and Mercedes-AMG, the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 is the next one to bow at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show. Each of the 100 Vantage GT3s lost 220 lbs over the standard Vantage S, thanks to extensive use of carbon fiber on items such as the front wings, roof and hood. […]

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aston-martin-vantage-gt3-01

Following the GT3s from Porsche and Mercedes-AMG, the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 is the next one to bow at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show.

Each of the 100 Vantage GT3s lost 220 lbs over the standard Vantage S, thanks to extensive use of carbon fiber on items such as the front wings, roof and hood. Polycarbonate rear windows and a lithium-ion battery further contribute to the weight savings.

Power for the Vantage GT3 comes via a 6-liter V12 pushing 600 horsepower to the rear Michelin Super Sports.

aston-martin-vantage-gt3-02 aston-martin-vantage-gt3-04 aston-martin-vantage-gt3-03 aston-martin-vantage-gt3-05 aston-martin-vantage-gt3-01 aston-martin-vantage-gt3-19 aston-martin-vantage-gt3-09 aston-martin-vantage-gt3-10 aston-martin-vantage-gt3-11 aston-martin-vantage-gt3-17 aston-martin-vantage-gt3-16 aston-martin-vantage-gt3-14 aston-martin-vantage-gt3-22 aston-martin-vantage-gt3-21 aston-martin-vantage-gt3-20 aston-martin-vantage-gt3-13 aston-martin-vantage-gt3-12 aston-martin-vantage-gt3-07 aston-martin-vantage-gt3-06 aston-martin-vantage-gt3-18

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Geneva 2015: Aston Martin Vulcan Revealed Prior To Global Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/geneva-2015-aston-martin-vulcan-revealed-prior-global-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/geneva-2015-aston-martin-vulcan-revealed-prior-global-debut/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1008130 Twenty-four well-heeled gentleman drivers will soon pilot their own Aston Martin Vulcan, the automaker’s newest track-only machine. Power for the Vulcan comes from a naturally aspirated 7-liter V12 pumping over 800 horsepower to the back via a rear mid-mounted Xtrac six-speed sequential-shift transmission. Other features include extensive use of carbon fiber, Brembo racing calipers mounted […]

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Twenty-four well-heeled gentleman drivers will soon pilot their own Aston Martin Vulcan, the automaker’s newest track-only machine.

Power for the Vulcan comes from a naturally aspirated 7-liter V12 pumping over 800 horsepower to the back via a rear mid-mounted Xtrac six-speed sequential-shift transmission. Other features include extensive use of carbon fiber, Brembo racing calipers mounted over carbon ceramic discs, race-spec Michelin tires, driver-adjustable anti-lock braking, variable traction control, and a power-to-weight ratio surpassing those found in FIA GTE cars.

Before the 24 fortunate owners take delivery of their FIA-certified Vulcans, they will offered a chance to gain some seat time behind the wheels of Aston Martin’s other road and track offerings — like the V12 Vantage S, One-77 and Vantage GT4 — in an intensive training program. Per special projects and motorsports chief David King, the 24 will then have the opportunity to take part in a series of track days in 2016 “on some of the world’s most famous and glamorous race circuits.”

The Vulcan is set to officially bow at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show next week before making its track debut later in the year, and was produced in a partnership with Multimatic, who will also be in charge of assembling the Ford GT next year.

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Aston Martin Plans To Raise Financing For Portfolio Expansion http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/aston-martin-plans-raise-financing-portfolio-expansion/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/aston-martin-plans-raise-financing-portfolio-expansion/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 11:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=961225 Aston Martin is preparing to crowdfund the old-fashioned way — shares and bonds — its portfolio expansion, per sources close to the automaker. Reuters reports the funds will be used to expand the Aston portfolio to include crossovers, hybrids and premium sedans, as well as add three years to the company’s ongoing recovery plan, with […]

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Aston Martin is preparing to crowdfund the old-fashioned way — shares and bonds — its portfolio expansion, per sources close to the automaker.

Reuters reports the funds will be used to expand the Aston portfolio to include crossovers, hybrids and premium sedans, as well as add three years to the company’s ongoing recovery plan, with the planned deadline to come in 2020. The fundraising plan — based on debt- or equity-raising options made to current investors — would bring in £100 million – £150 million ($156 million – $234 million USD).

The news comes as Aston Martin bids farewell to 2014, which began with a recall of 17,590 units over counterfeit accelerator pedals from a Chinese supplier. Last month, the automaker was granted an exemption from United States safety regs for the DB9 and Vantage. It also gained a new CEO this year, when Andy Palmer left Renault-Nissan to take up where Ulrich Bez left off upon retirement in 2013.

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Aston Martin Gets U.S. Government Exemption on Safety Standards http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/aston-martin-gets-u-s-government-exemption-safety-standards/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/aston-martin-gets-u-s-government-exemption-safety-standards/#comments Sun, 02 Nov 2014 21:14:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=939465 Aston Martin won a crucial exemption from the U.S. government regarding safety standards, allowing them to continue selling their line-up of sports cars in America. By denying an exemption to Aston Martin, the government would have effectively prevented Aston Martin from selling their products in the United States market, as the cost of retrofitting or […]

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Aston Martin won a crucial exemption from the U.S. government regarding safety standards, allowing them to continue selling their line-up of sports cars in America.

By denying an exemption to Aston Martin, the government would have effectively prevented Aston Martin from selling their products in the United States market, as the cost of retrofitting or redesigning their cars to meet standards would be too expensive. In a statement released by NHTSA, the regulator declared

“The basis for the grant is that compliance would cause substantial economic hardship to a low volume manufacturer that has tried in good faith to comply with the standard.”

According to Reuters, Aston Martin sold just 4,200 cars worldwide last year. The exemptions will continue until summer, 2017 at the latest.

 

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Aston Martin Gains Some Footing In 2013 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/aston-martin-gains-footing-2013/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/aston-martin-gains-footing-2013/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 12:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=927970 Aston Martin saw its pretax loss fall by a third in 2013 to £25.4 million ($41 million) over the same period in 2012. Reuters reports the drop was backed by an 12.6 percent increase in revenue in 2013, topping out at £519 million ($839.5 million). Sales also increased that year, with 4,200 units sold worldwide […]

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2014 Aston Martin Vanquish

Aston Martin saw its pretax loss fall by a third in 2013 to £25.4 million ($41 million) over the same period in 2012.

Reuters reports the drop was backed by an 12.6 percent increase in revenue in 2013, topping out at £519 million ($839.5 million). Sales also increased that year, with 4,200 units sold worldwide over 2012’s 3,800.

Though still on shaky ground — especially in light of U.S. safety regs threatening to block further imports, as well as a February 2014 recall of 17,690 over counterfeit plastic parts from a Chinese supplier — the automaker is moving toward its goal of profitability, with new CEO and former Nissan exec Andy Palmer leading the way. According to CFO Hanno Kirner, that goal would be reached as early as 2016, thanks to a £500 million ($808.8 million) investment program.

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Nissan Declined Stake In Aston Martin As Early As 2012 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/nissan-declined-stake-aston-martin-early-2012/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/nissan-declined-stake-aston-martin-early-2012/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 10:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=909066 Prior to becoming Aston Martin’s new CEO, former Nissan senior exec Andy Palmer proposed to the automaker to buy a stake in AM, only for Nissan to decline. Reuters reports Palmer brought up the issue Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn in 2012 and 2013, with one insider claiming the company “looked carefully at the proposal” before […]

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Aston Martin Lagonda Prototype

Prior to becoming Aston Martin’s new CEO, former Nissan senior exec Andy Palmer proposed to the automaker to buy a stake in AM, only for Nissan to decline.

Reuters reports Palmer brought up the issue Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn in 2012 and 2013, with one insider claiming the company “looked carefully at the proposal” before rejecting the idea. Said insider declined to explain the proposal or the reasoning behind the rejection, as did a representative for the company.

Meanwhile, Palmer’s new role as AM’s CEO may lead to more cooperation between the premium automaker and Daimler AG, the latter already in possession of a 4 percent stake in the former while also providing engines and electronics to Aston’s offerings. Palmer helped Daimler and Nissan’s Infiniti develop a similar relationship, resulting in a joint-venture on a plant in Mexico, as well as a family of engines to be shared with the Q50 and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

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Andy Palmer Named Aston Martin CEO, Leaving Infiniti Without Leadership http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/andy-palmer-named-aston-martin-ceo-leaving-infiniti-without-leadership/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/andy-palmer-named-aston-martin-ceo-leaving-infiniti-without-leadership/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 15:05:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=904929 Longtime Nissan executive Andy Palmer will join Aston Martin as its new CEO, effective September 15th. This bodes well for the struggling boutique sports car maker, but leaves Infiniti with a critical leadership vacuum. Palmer’s appointment at Aston Martin brings considerable experience working with both luxury brands and in partnership with Daimler. Aston Martin is […]

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Longtime Nissan executive Andy Palmer will join Aston Martin as its new CEO, effective September 15th. This bodes well for the struggling boutique sports car maker, but leaves Infiniti with a critical leadership vacuum.

Palmer’s appointment at Aston Martin brings considerable experience working with both luxury brands and in partnership with Daimler. Aston Martin is expected to use engines from Daimler’s high-performance AMG brand in future, and may co-operate further with the German auto maker.

For Renault-Nissan, this is the second high profile departure in recent months. Palmer was filling in for recently departed Infiniti executive Johan de Nysschen, who left for Cadillac in July. Infiniti will now become the responsibility of North America head Jose Munoz, with a permanent replacement expected to arrive at a later date. Renault Executive Vice President Philippe Klein will replace Palmer as Chief Planning Officer and assume Palmer’s seat on the board.

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Aston Martin Could Leave US Without Federal Crash Exemption Approval http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/aston-martin-leave-us-without-federal-crash-exemption-approval/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/aston-martin-leave-us-without-federal-crash-exemption-approval/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 04:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=893890 Should you desire an Aston Martin in the near future, you may need to make your purchase sooner than later if the automaker fails to live up to the federal government’s newest expectations. Bloomberg reports Aston Martin stores will likely suffer financial hardships should the DB9 and Vantage are no longer made for sale in […]

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Aston-Martin One-77

Should you desire an Aston Martin in the near future, you may need to make your purchase sooner than later if the automaker fails to live up to the federal government’s newest expectations.

Bloomberg reports Aston Martin stores will likely suffer financial hardships should the DB9 and Vantage are no longer made for sale in the United States due to both vehicles’ failure to comply with new regulations regarding side-impact crashes. This would result in every dealership closing their doors barring an exemption for both vehicles, as explained by U.S. dealer advisory panel chairman James Walker in his petition to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

The financial viability of Aston Martin dealers is very much in question. If dealers make the decision to shutter the franchise, a very likely outcome, the impact on employment is significant.

Aston Martin sent exemption requests last year for the DB9 through August of 2016, and the Vantage the following August. Next-gen models of both vehicles have been delayed due to financial issues.

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Aston-Daimler Partnership Deepens With Component Agreement, Increased Holdings http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/aston-daimler-partnership-deepens-component-agreement-increased-holdings/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/aston-daimler-partnership-deepens-component-agreement-increased-holdings/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 10:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=883521 Daimler’s partnership with Aston Martin is growing, as the former will supply electric and electronic components to the latter for a 1 percent increase in holdings. Bloomberg reports Daimler’s total holdings will come to 5 percent as part of the supply deal, which in turn is part of a larger agreement where Mercedes AMG will […]

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Mercedes SLS AMG + Aston Martin DBS

Daimler’s partnership with Aston Martin is growing, as the former will supply electric and electronic components to the latter for a 1 percent increase in holdings.

Bloomberg reports Daimler’s total holdings will come to 5 percent as part of the supply deal, which in turn is part of a larger agreement where Mercedes AMG will supply V8s for future Aston models. Aston Martin is also planning on using Mercedes tech to develop an SUV for sale by 2017 at the earliest.

Other shareholders of the largely independent premium automaker include London-based investment firm Investindustrial, and Kuwaiti-based Investment Dar Co. and Adeem Investment Co.

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Aston Martin Revives The Lagonda, By Invitation Only http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/aston-martin-revives-the-lagona-by-invitation-only/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/aston-martin-revives-the-lagona-by-invitation-only/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 15:05:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=873266   If you want an Aston Martin Lagonda, you must meet two requirements Get an invite from Aston Martin Live in the Middle East The new Lagonda will share its underpinnings and V12 engine with other Astons, but the sales and marketing process will be quite different. Orders will only be taken from select clients […]

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If you want an Aston Martin Lagonda, you must meet two requirements

  1. Get an invite from Aston Martin
  2. Live in the Middle East

The new Lagonda will share its underpinnings and V12 engine with other Astons, but the sales and marketing process will be quite different.

Orders will only be taken from select clients who receive an invitation from Aston Martin. The Lagonda will be marketed in the Middle East only, and each car will be hand tailored to the buyer’s taste. It should also cost a bloody fortune.

One reason that bespoke cars are so popular in the region is that they are a rare chance for individuals to express themselves in a society that enforces conformity in most other areas of life. With dress, behavior, social customs and other outlets for expression under strict control, the automobile is one item that can be customized to reflect one’s personal tastes, though previously, this has manifested itself in option packages, paintwork or bespoke interior. This is the first time we’ve seen an all-new car conceived this this specific market.

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Aston Martin Teaming Up With Daimler For Premium SUV http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/aston-martin-teaming-up-with-daimler-for-premium-suv/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/aston-martin-teaming-up-with-daimler-for-premium-suv/#comments Tue, 01 Apr 2014 19:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=785633 First Bentley, now Aston Martin wants an SUV for their lineup, with plans to team up with Daimler to make that vision reality. Bloomberg reports the plan is related to a 5 percent stake in Aston Martin sold to Daimler last year in return for sharing technology with the English automaker, such as Mercedes AMG […]

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First Bentley, now Aston Martin wants an SUV for their lineup, with plans to team up with Daimler to make that vision reality.

Bloomberg reports the plan is related to a 5 percent stake in Aston Martin sold to Daimler last year in return for sharing technology with the English automaker, such as Mercedes AMG building V8 engines with Aston in the latter’s upcoming models.

Currently, talks are at the early stages, with signs of the new SUV not expected to come for another three years at the earliest. Aston is also debating whether or not to build a crossover using its own technology.

As for Aston overall, the automaker aims to sell 7,000 cars annually by 2016 by catering to demand in North American, South American and Asian markets.

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Say Hello To 144 Month Financing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/say-hello-to-144-month-financing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/say-hello-to-144-month-financing/#comments Mon, 24 Mar 2014 13:14:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=779409 One year ago, we reported on the alarming trend of 97 month loans for new car sales. It turns out that these have now been supplanted by a substantially longer term. Say hello to the 144 month loan. TTAC has actually known about the 144 month loan for some time. As we discovered, certain fringe […]

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One year ago, we reported on the alarming trend of 97 month loans for new car sales. It turns out that these have now been supplanted by a substantially longer term. Say hello to the 144 month loan.

TTAC has actually known about the 144 month loan for some time. As we discovered, certain fringe elements in the exotic car financing business have been offering these ultra-long terms, though with fairly stringent conditions (a high credit score and a substantial down payment).

Automotive News recounts the tale of one customer, a “business consultant” who financed a $300,000 Aston Martin on a 12 year loan

“…the Aston Martin buyer is a successful businessperson who made a hefty down payment, says a staffer at the Aston Martin dealership, who wished to remain anonymous. But stretching the amount financed over 144 months offered additional flexibility that the customer appreciated. And the buyer plans to pay the 12-year loan off early.”

Aside from the questionable judgement involved in financing any depreciating asset, let alone a fragile British exotic car, over a 12 year term, the sheer amount of time must be put in context. 12 years ago, the DB9 wasn’t even out yet. The Vanquish had barely been released. That period of time is an eternity in automotive terms – think about the difference between a 2002 Accord and a 2014 Accord – and by the time 2026 rolls around, the Aston in question will be a stale-looking money pit at best.

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Ur-Turn: The World Of Counterfeit Plastics http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/ur-turn-the-world-of-counterfeit-plastics/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/ur-turn-the-world-of-counterfeit-plastics/#comments Mon, 10 Feb 2014 14:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=737753 TTAC reader Dean Trombetta is back, giving an insider’s look at a widely reported but mis-understood story involving automotive plastics. Last week, Aston Martin announced the recall of more than 17,000 vehicles for defective throttle pedals. The term “counterfeit plastic”, was frequently mentioned in the story, and for those not in the plastics business, the […]

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Click here to view the embedded video.

TTAC reader Dean Trombetta is back, giving an insider’s look at a widely reported but mis-understood story involving automotive plastics.

Last week, Aston Martin announced the recall of more than 17,000 vehicles for defective throttle pedals. The term “counterfeit plastic”, was frequently mentioned in the story, and for those not in the plastics business, the term may seem confusing. We usually associate the term “counterfeit” with consumer goods, specifically luxury items like watches, handbags and women’s accessories. Despite being in the plastics industry, I wasn’t sure what initial reports were referencing. But further research has shed some more light on the matter, and there seem to be two possible scenarios at play here.

Typically, when a new plastic part is designed, the engineers pick a type of plastic for the part. They do not typically specify a specific grade, just a type such as “nylon 6/6″ or “ABS”. The blueprints are drawn for the part and a material specification is put on the print to call out what material is to be used.

The engineers at the OEMs have dozens and sometimes hundreds of material specifications that have been written over the years that provide detailed requirements for a plastic material such as UV resistance, tensile strength etc. When the tooling is complete, sample parts are molded with a material that meets the specification, and these initial parts are submitted to the OEM in what is referred to as a Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) package.

This package includes the parts and supporting documentation proving that the materials used are able to meet the specification on the print, and that the part has the correct dimensions. Once the package is approved by the OEM and production begins, the supplier is not allowed to change anything without submitting a new PPAP. This means that the supplier is not allowed to just willy-nilly switch the material to a cheaper grade without getting approval first.

GM, Ford and Chrysler have “approved source lists” attached to each material specification that actually call out specific grades of plastic that can be used. Upon getting the print, the supplier looks up the specification in a database and it tells them to use DuPont grade 123 or Dow grade 456. Strangely, GM Ford and Chrysler are really the only ones that do this. Virtually every other automaker does it differently. Only appearance parts and parts deemed critical have approved sources and all other parts have a specification only and the supplier is responsible for making sure the material they choose meets the specification. Suppliers to these other companies are still not allowed to switch materials without submitting a new PPAP after production begins.

However, for some suppliers, the temptation to use cheaper materials is too difficult to resist. They might switch to a cheaper grade and make sure that the new material still meets the specification or they might just hope that it meets. If a supplier gets caught using a “non-approved” material, they could get in some trouble and if this is discovered during a recall situation, things can really get ugly. This scenario is not that uncommon and is what I thought may have happened to Aston.

However, after hearing that representatives from DuPont were involved in the Aston Martin, I think something else might have happened.

There are currently over 60,000 grades of plastic available commercially. These materials all have different properties. There are a relative few chemical companies that actually convert petroleum distillate to plastic but most plastic parts are not made of this stuff. The raw material is sent to a compounder that melts the plastic down and adds all sorts of ingredients such as color, heat stabilizers, impact modifiers, UV stabilizers, reinforcements such as fiberglass and numerous other additives.

There are thousands of these compounders all over the world that take basic “virgin” plastic and convert it into the materials that are used to make automotive parts. Some of these compounders are very small companies. Often these compounders will get a sample of another manufacturers material and reverse engineer it. They can often find out what the properties are and make an “equivalent” grade. This is not illegal assuming that they are not violating any patents, and patents on plastic materials are exceedingly rare.

The line gets crossed when someone makes a material and then labels it using someone else’s trade name and grade number. To be fair, sometimes this happens innocently. Some grades of plastic such as DuPont Zytel 70G33 are so ubiquitous, that the grade has become synonymous with that type of material, in the way that brand names like Kleenex, Xerox and Coke are synonymous with the generic product. I run into many people that refer to all acetal material as “Delrin” which is actually another DuPont trade name. I personally believe that many compounders will refer to their own product with a brand name out of laziness, rather than any intent to deceive other parties.

Sometimes, the intentions are not so innocent. There was a big case in the 90’s that involved a company selling generic acetal resin and labeling it Celcon M90 which was and still is a trademark of a large manufacturer called Ticona. This company was even making counterfeit bags and boxes and providing fake test reports for the material. The owner of this company ended up serving 5 years in prison.

In the Aston Martin example, we can see how the idea of a “counterfeit” plastic part came to fruition. A Chinese compounder likely wanted to make an equivalent to the aforementioned Zytel 70G33, a common plastic for automotive applications. Ironically, the raw nylon to make this plastic has to be purchased from DuPont or BASF. Other additives like glass fiber, black pigment and copper based heat stabilizer can be purchased elsewhere.

While any given outfit can theoretically make this blend, doing it cheaper than DuPont is next to impossible. DuPont’s size enables them buy all of the ingredients at a much lower cost. In order to entice the supplier to buy the “generic equivalent” from your own small outfit, you have to cut a few corners to make up the cost difference. That means less heat stabilizer,  a cheaper coupling agent and even usng scrap nylon parts that are recycled into the mix.

All of a sudden, the material that might cost $3.50/lb from DuPont can be sold for 50 cents on the dollar. Just put the material in fake DuPont bags and provide some DuPont paper work that you made with a pirated version of Microsoft Word and you’re in business and pray that you don’t get discovered. This time, they ended up in a product that they had no business being in – a high-dollar exotic car.

 

 

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Daimler to Acquire Stake in Aston Martin in Exchange For AMG Engine Tech http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/daimler-to-acquire-stake-in-aston-martin-in-exchange-for-amg-engine-tech/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/daimler-to-acquire-stake-in-aston-martin-in-exchange-for-amg-engine-tech/#comments Fri, 20 Dec 2013 10:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=684514 In a non-cash deal, Daimler AG will supply Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd. with technology and engine development in exchange for as much as a 5% non-voting stake in the British luxury sports car maker. The AMG performance division at Mercedes-Benz will jointly develop engines with Aston Martin for AM’s next generation models. Daimler also will get […]

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Aston Martin's current engines are assembled at a Ford facility near Cologne, Germany.

Aston Martin’s current engines are assembled at a Ford facility near Cologne, Germany.

In a non-cash deal, Daimler AG will supply Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd. with technology and engine development in exchange for as much as a 5% non-voting stake in the British luxury sports car maker. The AMG performance division at Mercedes-Benz will jointly develop engines with Aston Martin for AM’s next generation models. Daimler also will get a non-voting observer on Aston Martin’s board of directors. Aston Martin currently buys engines from Ford Motor Company, an artifact of the time when Ford owned AM. The Aston Martin V12 is based on the Ford Duratec V6 and Aston’s V8 engine is based on the Jaguar V8, funded by Ford when it owned that luxury marque as well.

“This agreement is a real win-win for both sides,” Tobias Moers, head of Mercedes-AMG, said in a statement cited by Bloomberg.

Aston Martin is currently the only the only global luxury car maker that’s not part of a larger manufacturing group with which it can share development and component costs so it’s looking to control development costs of the new models.

In addition AMG supplying engine development, the companies are looking into other possible areas of cooperation including Daimler providing Aston Martin with electronic components . Today’s agreement formalizes a tentative deal reached in July. Earlier in the year, Aston Martin announced that it was going to invest 500 million pounds ($819 million) on its operations over the next four years. The century old car maker sold 3,800 cars last year.

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Aston Martin Cygnet Sent To The Tower Of London http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/aston-martin-cygnet-sent-to-the-tower-of-london/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/aston-martin-cygnet-sent-to-the-tower-of-london/#comments Tue, 01 Oct 2013 18:18:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=532873 With just 143 examples registered in the UK, Aston Martin has quietly dropped the Cygnet city car – based on the Toyota iQ. According to UK mag Autocar, Aston Martin will also not be re-entering this space, and will focus on what it does best: making high end performance cars. Originally conceived as a way to […]

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With just 143 examples registered in the UK, Aston Martin has quietly dropped the Cygnet city car – based on the Toyota iQ. According to UK mag Autocar, Aston Martin will also not be re-entering this space, and will focus on what it does best: making high end performance cars. Originally conceived as a way to meet strict European emissions rules, the Cygnet failed to meet Aston’s initial sales projections of 4000 units annually.

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Aston Martin & AMG Announce Technical Partnership, Daimler to Buy Up to 5% Stake in AM http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/aston-martin-amg-announce-technical-partnership-daimler-to-buy-up-to-5-stake-in-am/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/aston-martin-amg-announce-technical-partnership-daimler-to-buy-up-to-5-stake-in-am/#comments Fri, 26 Jul 2013 11:30:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=497092 As part of an announced technical partnership between AMG, the performance subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz and Britain’s Aston Martin, Daimler will buy up to a 5% interest in the luxury performance car maker. The agreement will give AM “significant access” to the technical resources of both AMG and its parent. Aston Martin will use those resources […]

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As part of an announced technical partnership between AMG, the performance subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz and Britain’s Aston Martin, Daimler will buy up to a 5% interest in the luxury performance car maker. The agreement will give AM “significant access” to the technical resources of both AMG and its parent. Aston Martin will use those resources to develop V8 engines and have access to Mercedes Benz’s electronic architecture and components.

Aston Martin product development director Ian Minards said, “We have selected AMG specifically as the basis for this powertrain development process.”

On behalf of AMG, the performance brand’s chief, Ola Kaellenius said that the technical partnership is “proof of AMG’s technological and performance expertise, and a real win-win situation for both sides.”

Aston Martin’s engines are currently supplied by Ford, which formerly owned AM, at a Cologne, Germany plant. Aston Martin’s V12 engine is based on the architecture of Ford’s Duratec V6 engine. Aston’s V8 is a hand assembled version of the Jaguar AJ V8 engine, a practice that started when Ford owned both of those companies.

Automotive analysts say that the deal helps Aston Martin avoid the substantial costs of not just engine development, but also electronic systems, which have become increasingly important in the auto industry.

For Daimler, it gets to amortize some AMG costs and gives it a foothold to take control of Aston Martin later should its current investors want to pull out. Moody’s currently rates Aston Martin at B3, non-investment grade. Last year, the Investindustrial group of Italy bought a 37.5% share in the company for $241 million, through a capital increase negotiated with majority owner Investment Dar, a sovereign-wealth fund of Kuwait.

Aston Martin is currently the only premier luxury car maker that is not owned by a larger automotive group. In January, Aston Martin announced plans to invest spend $765 over the next four years to keep pace with VAG owned Bentley and Fiat owned Ferrari and Maserati. The UK company has had a rough go of it since the economic crisis of 2008, with a 9% drop in profits in 2012, and a 10% decline in sales, to ~3,800 cars.

So far, Daimler and Aston Martin have only signed a letter of intent, with definitive agreements to be inked later this year, pending regulatory approval. Daimler will buy the 5% stake in stages, depending on the progress of the technical partnership, and its stock will be non-voting shares.

 

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