Aston Martin: the past, the present, and the future Update! Ford confirms Aston Martin is for sEnlarge Photo
The next 12 months are shaping up to be the most successful period ever, in terms of sales, for legendary British marque Aston Martin. Analysts expect sales to top 6500 units this year following from a previous high of 5000 vehicles for the past year. With figures like these it’s hard to imagine just over a decade ago AM was at the brink of bankruptcy.
Back in 1992 AM built only 46 vehicles in the days when it specialised in purely exclusive hand-crafted sport carriages. After Ford’s acquisition of 75% of AM’s shares back in 1987 and its subsequent full purchase in 1993, the niche automaker was never going to be the same. The introduction of the DB7 in the mid 90’s marked a turnaround for the company, with sales for that model alone totalling 5000 units over its life. At its release the DB7 was considered one of the most beautiful cars of all time and is considered by some still to this day. Ford’s new investment and manufacturing techniques allowed AM to build and sell more cars in the last 20 years than it had over its entire life prior.
After the stunning success of the DB7, AM gained the confidence to produce a whole range of new performance coupes, mostly based on one highly configurable "VH" platform. This saw the introduction of new models including the successor to the DB7, the DB9 plus the Vanquish supercar and the latest V8 Vantage. AM is even developing a new four-door sedan and another performance coupe in the form of the Rapide and DBS respectively.
Despite this success, Ford has confirmed that it will drop AM from its Premier Automotive Group. Bill Ford recently stated that Ford is “exploring its strategic options for AM.” This is in addition to the news that Ford may drop Jaguar and Land Rover, also part of the PAG.
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images and a full press release about the Aston Martin sale.FORD TO EXPLORE STRATEGIC OPTIONS FOR ASTON MARTIN
DEARBORN, Mich., August 31, 2006 - Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) announced today it has begun the process of exploring strategic options for Aston Martin, with particular emphasis on a potential sale of all or a portion of the unit.
"As part of our ongoing strategic review, we have determined that Aston Martin may be an attractive opportunity to raise capital and generate value," said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bill Ford. "Aston Martin Lagonda has flourished under Ford ownership, which is why we believe it is prudent to consider a sale of all or part of this prized brand. Since Aston Martin's dealer network, product architecture and size are distinctly different from other Ford brands, it is the most logical and capital-smart divestiture choice. The objective of any sale would be to position Aston Martin within a structure and resource base sufficient to allow it to reach its full potential, while enabling Ford to efficiently raise capital for its other brands."
Mr. Ford added, "Regarding our other Premier Automotive Group brands, we've made no decisions, as our review of strategic alternatives continues. However, we continue to be encouraged by Jaguar's progress and by the strength and consumer appeal of the Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo product lineups."
The company said there can be no assurance that the decision to explore strategic options for Aston Martin will result in any transaction, which would be subject to Board approval. Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures and distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With about 300,000 employees and more than 100 plants worldwide, the company's core and affiliated automotive brands include Aston Martin, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercury and Volvo. Its automotive-related services include Ford Motor Credit Company.