2015 Aston Martin V8 Vantage N430Enlarge Photo
It’s no secret that Aston’s VH platform that underpins all of the British automaker’s current lineup is getting long in the tooth, despite continual updates since its launch in the first-generation Vanquish back in 2001. The Mercedes MSA platform is a quick solution, although Aston still lacks the funds to acquire the platform as well as develop the models to be spawned from it.
According to a report in Automobile, an anonymous board member for Mercedes parent company Daimler said Aston may still gain access to the platform in return for more shares. This is how cash-strapped Aston previously financed a deal to secure engines from Mercedes’s AMG performance unit.
The good news is that any new deal is also expected to include access to a new SUV platform derived from Mercedes’s MRA (modular rear-drive architecture) platform. This SUV platform is said to be set for a debut in the next-generation GL-Class in a few years and would be the preferred choice for Aston’s planned Lagonda SUV.
The key concern for Daimler is what happens should Aston Martin be acquired by a rival automaker. The new buyer would then have access to a number of key Mercedes technologies. An alternative would be Daimler buying Aston, though Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche has told us that this is not his intention.
Whatever the case is, Aston Martin will need to find a solution to its platform problems fast. According to the same Automobile report, a Mercedes delegation visited Aston’s headquarters last month and discovered that the only new model the British firm had in the pipeline was a new DB9, based once again on the VH platform although this time with both V-8 and V-12 engine options.
One glimmer of hope is news today that Aston Martin has managed to raise $165 million through a bond issue. This is in addition to £500,000 (approximately $824 million) being invested in Aston Martin by key shareholders Investindustrial and Investment Dar over the next several years.