Aston Martin Lagonda will be seeing new leadership. Tobias Moers will be surrendering his role as chief executive to make way for former Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa.
While the formal announcement was made on Wednesday, rumors about Moers getting the boot had been circulating ever since Aston Martin Racing head Otmar Szafnauer left the company in January after repeatedly butting heads with executive chairman Lawrence Stroll. Szafnauer was said to have resigned, however, reports suggested that the Canadian financier was displeased with his performance. At the time, there were claims that Moers’ head was next on the chopping block.
The Rare Rides series has covered every generation of Aston Martin’s Lagonda four-door except one. In the Sixties, the Lagonda Rapide helped to define the super sedan class: A grand tourer that could sweep four passengers and their luggage across Continental Europe with ease.
Then there was the late Seventies Lagonda, which had a long production run through 1990. Advanced electronically, that Lagonda was too ambitious and generally earned its reputation as a good-looking, expensive disaster. Finally, there was the Lagonda Taraf, a large sedan designed specifically and cynically for the UAE market. It was built to extract maximum dollars from oil barons and the like. Great success!
But between Lagonda Rapide and Lagonda was a missing link. It was called the Lagonda Series I and is the rarest Aston Martin Lagonda ever made. And one is for sale.
It’s no secret that Aston Martin is in financial trouble. It went into 2020 in rough enough shape to require extensive restructuring, making the subsequent years more about survival than growth. Executive Chairman Lawrence Stroll has said he remains committed to saving the company and reviving its defunct Formula One team on more than one occasion since then. But he is clearly fighting an uphill battle.
Despite having achieved a few sales targets after spending most of 2020 shut down, Aston Martin continues facing product delays and is losing talent faster than it can replace it. Some of this has been attributed (fairly or not) to CEO Tobias Moers, who took over for Andy Palmer in August of 2020. But it looks like Moers may be leaving the company as well if the latest reports are to be believed.
We’ve featured several Aston Martins on Rare Rides previously, but have never covered its most recognizable car: the DB5. Designed in Italy, the DB5 was an instant collector’s item when it starred as James Bond’s ride in Goldfinger.
Today’s collection includes all three different DB5 body styles, each rarer than the last.
Rare Rides has featured a couple of fine Lagonda sedans previously. First was the 1980s rectangle designed by William Towns, which miraculously remained in production from 1976 to 1990. Next was the Lagonda Taraf, a super sedan intended only for the oil-flush UAE market.
Today we bring you the genesis of the Aston Martin Lagonda sedan line, the Rapide.
Today’s Rare Ride started out in life as an already very expensive Aston Martin Vanquish. Then it was reworked in a significant way by that Italian house of all things coupe, Zagato. Surprisingly, the Italians resisted painting it Rosso Corso Collezione or whatever, as its owner demanded a nice BRG-adjacent matte color.
Let’s check out this sports wagon shaped Aston Martin.
Aston Martin’s V12 Vanquish was the company’s heavy hitter GT of the 2000s decade. Between 2001 and 2007, just over 2,500 examples of the Vanquish were produced, composed of 1,492 standard 2+2 coupes, and 1,086 of the sportier S version that ditched the rear seats.
Now, a select few customers can have a thoroughly reengineered Vanquish S, created by the man who designed the original.
A cross-Channel coup of sorts has seen Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer replaced by Mercedes-AMG CEO Tobias Moers in a move made official by the British luxury performance brand Tuesday morning.
Head of Aston since 2014, Palmer’s ouster reportedly came after the recently listed automaker’s stock price plummeted through the end of 2019, with the coronavirus pandemic only adding to its downward momentum — a trajectory shared in the first quarter of 2020 by the company’s sales and revenue.
Will Moers be able to cultivate some AMG-like magic in British soil?
When you think about V6 engines, you’re probably reminded of mainstream family vehicles and manufacturers trying to find a way to package six cylinders in the most efficient manner. Inline sixes are great, but their length makes them difficult to install in the bulk of a manufacturer’s lineup. By splitting the cylinder count into two banks, the V6 avoids this problem — which is why you’ve seen it in everything from minivans to supercars over the last few decades.
Even Aston Martin has decided to tap the configuration for its next generation of vehicles. Developed in-house and intended for hybridization, the automaker promises its new V6 will not only live up to expectations but surpass them by outperforming the mightiest V12 in its stable. That 5.2-liter motor currently belongs to the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera and makes 715 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque.
Back in 2013, Aston Martin signed a deal with Daimler to supply the next generation of its performance vehicles with Mercedes-AMG engines and electrical systems. That arrangement is now coming to an end, as AMG has decided to replace its 4.0-liter V8 with a hybridized four-cylinder unit that’s more efficient. While the older Mercedes-sourced mill will linger in Aston Martin’s Vantage, DB11, and DBX luxury crossover, the manufacturer will eventually need to find its replacement.
Fortunately, it already has a motor in mind.
Listen, I know I’ve given Aston Martin a hard time ever since I’ve started writing about cars. My diatribe about the marque choosing New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady as a brand ambassador netted me no shortage of attention from upset sportswriters and morning DJs who cared more about football than I ever could. To my surprise, the ordeal even landed my name in a book about the NFL that nobody read. Despite the indescribable waves of pleasure I feel from bashing the marketing efforts of any high-end brand, Aston’s cars have historically been quite desirable. In fact, I have a gigantic soft spot in my head heart for the V8 Vantage Volante Timothy Dalton drove around in The Living Daylights.
That bodes well for Aston as I prepare to exercise every ounce of pettiness from within my soul to comment up its 70th anniversary celebration of the Vantage. But then the manufacturer decided to put a bunch in an empty aircraft hangar for a photo op and I suddenly remembered that the Vantage name has been tainted by more than just Mr. Brady.
Aston Martin is canceling is mid-engined Valkyrie racer and stalling EV development until 2025 as it reassess both the racing and industry landscapes. The Valkyrie was originally scheduled to commence its racing career in Silverstone this fall, before moving on to the main event — the 24 Hours of Le Mans — in 2021. Now, the company says it will halt development on the racer while it reorganizes under new investor Lawrence Stroll (Red Bull is out) and the Racing Point F1 team.
This appears to leave Toyota as the only big-boy factory team participating in the LM Hypercar division for its introductory season. Despite assurances that factory LMP1 teams had an interest in the class, they haven’t been clamoring to get involved. Peugeot and Glickenhaus are technically still in the running, though neither appear to have expended the same kind of cash as Toyota or Aston and are likewise presumed to pull out before the season starts.
This must be confusing for the FIA, as Hypercar was seen by the World Endurance Championship as an affordable alternative to P1 while also allowing manufacturers to adhere more closely to signature body styles that the prototypes would allow. It was assumed automakers would love this, as it allowed for more direct marketing ins and some overlap with the prototype cars.
2019 was not a good year for Aston Martin’s balance sheet. As the British automaker struggled to get new product out the door, its stock decided to mimic the final plunge of the Edmund Fitzgerald. A second profit warning greeted accountants and shareholders as the New Year dawned.
As reported Friday morning, the company’s outlook is suddenly much sunnier.
Maybe it won’t be needed, what with a new sport-utility vehicle on the way, but Aston Martin’s deflated stock price and profit dive has the British automaker in search of a financial parachute. By that, we mean investors who can pump a little cash into the company while boosting shareholder confidence.
After a disappointing year, Aston Martin needs to chart a path to better finances, and a Chinese company that’s no stranger to endangered European brands might just be that sugar daddy.