By on March 4, 2009

This morning’s Financial Times reports that the Kuwaiti-based investment fund that owns former Ford subsidiary and British exoticar manufacturer Aston Martin wants out. After two years at the helm, with the luxury car market disappearing down the worldwide financial rathole, they’re “considering” offering majority interest to whoever’s got the cash to buy it. “The investment group has received several expressions of interest in a stake in Aston Martin as a part of the company’s plans to restructure its debt, according to people close to the situation.” Yeah, I’m interested too; does that count? Sorry. Too negative. Right. Anyway, how’s this for vague?

People close to the fund said that work on its restructuring was still at an early stage and it was still considering all options available to it to renegotiating its KD1bn (£2.4bn) debt, including a debt for equity swap or other asset sales, the people said.

Investment Dar met banks and investors on Monday to update them on the group’s restructuring plans. These have yet to be finalised and are to be presented on March 16.

The group told the banks that all avenues were being pursued, according to one of the people close to the restructuring.

In other words, Lotus?

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14 Comments on “Aston Martin For Sale...”

  • avatar

    I liked Aston Martin’s/ Jaguar/Land Rovers when Ford Owned them. Now, I couldn’t see myself ever buying one.

    These cars simply can’t turn a profit.

  • avatar

    Aston did turn a profit under Ford. There is a nice profit margin on these things. Now is not a good time to sell cars like these though. Even the rich guys that can afford them don’t want to buy them and look pompous.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Catering to the hyper-wealthy was a good way to make money these past two decades. Going forward, it looks like a very dicey proposition.

  • avatar

    God, did you have to post another picture of that thing? I’ve never seen so many pilfered styling cues thrown together on one vehicle. I would rate this as worse that the Aztec.

    Back to the company. I don’t know how they can survive independently. The costs of vehicle development are extraordinarily high and it’s a time consuming process. Even if you can borrow an engine and transmission from another manufacturer, designing the car, crash testing etc. In the gilded age when you could order a rolling chassis and get a coachbuilder to build the body, but I don’t see how that can work know.

  • avatar

    Yeah, I don’t think the Lagonda concept is going to help attract investors.

  • avatar

    Geez! That Lagonda concept is friggin awful.

  • avatar
    Alex Dykes

    Aston made money under Ford because the market for luxury cars was booming and they had access to Jaguar and Volvo’s parts bins. Anyone who buys AM will need to either maintain cheap access to these parts bins or find new bins of their own to raid.

  • avatar

    Lagonda concept: the totally awful.

  • avatar

    While it leaves a lot to be desired in execution, the concept as such is not that bad. If they were to raise Lagonda from the dead, doing a rebadged Rapide would not be the best of ideas. Given that the potential markets for this thing are quoted to be more in the developing world, a better groundclearance and tolerance of bad roads are good, too. Again asuming a possible tie-up with MB for Ulrich Bez to reinvigorate the Maybach brand, a straight RR competitor was out of the question. So a high riding, differently proportioned but still 3 box design 4WD grand tourer does not seem that off. Whatever the times, AM wasn’t going to do an economy car, so let’s be realistic ;)

    And on the other hand, going down the economy route (the current V8 Vantage) is frought with lots of danger. Practically brand new V8s now retail for more or less the lowest prices one can pay for an Aston, a fate their DB9 and above sized predecessors are still spared. Does not do all that much for the brand.

  • avatar

    The concept’s engineering is interesting. The looks however leave much to be desired. That is in now way beautiful.

    Regarding Aston Martin’s situation, there is still wealth to be had and I think the company stands a pretty good chance at riding this out till the economy bounces back.

  • avatar

    surely this Lagonda thing must be a joke , a last laugh
    on Kuwaiti money !

  • avatar

    Man, I guess a lot of otherwise rich Kuwaitis must’ve rolled the dice writing Credit Default Swaps!?!

    Aston was one of the few brands that actually Did make $ for Ford; which now seems like a freaking miracle.

    The issue is not their margins, it’s this:

    Any carco should be rightly terrified of a tieup w/ MB. Just look at the Wizzard! they brought to Chryco.

    I guess a lot of people get Fearful in a recession, which according to Warren Buffet, is the best time to buy.
    -Let’s set up an investment group and show those gutless Kuwaitis what’s up!!!
    -now all we need is a few billion investors with $1 each; they shouldn’t be too hard to find.
    WAIT!!! -Can AM apply for a Bailout, too??? :P

    @KMII, what particular variety of crack are you smoking?!?
    +The Vantage has done Great things for Aston. I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t their volume+profit seller since it came out.

    I can’t imagine what carco is actually run well, but AM needs the Portfolio approach (~opposite correlation; (it’s 8 varieties for stocks)) if it has trouble banking $ or paying overpriced mgmt.; ie: a VW or Hoondai to keep selling bread+butter cars in the lean times.

  • avatar

    Holy Moly! The rear is worse than the front.

    Catering to the hyper-wealthy was a good way to make money these past two decades. Going forward, it looks like a very dicey proposition.

    I don’t think so. Without a complete rearrangement of the world’s economy, the rich will do better than ever once the current crisis passes. The sheer size of the global market means that anything that is sold to a global audience can be sold in such huge numbers that the profits are astronomical even if the margins are thin.

    China and Russia have entered their own gilded age, and those governments are so corrupt that the situation could continue for a very long time.

  • avatar
    Former Aston salesperson

    As a former Aston salesperson I witnessed Aston releasing 2008 DB9s with faulty fuel pumps. They knew they were bad and would fail, but instead of replacing them before delivery, they decided to sell them as is and address the issue only after the pumps failed for the unsuspecting owner… Not the way a stand-up automaker should conduct business!

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