Aston Martin will rely on Volvo to develop safety systems for its upcoming Rapide sedan, and we’re likely to see more Ford engineers playing a bigger role in designing Aston’s future models. The Blue Oval still retains a £40 million stake in the luxury brand, including ownership of the engine factory in Köln where Aston Martin sources its V8 and V12 engines. According to Sweden’s AutoMotor&Sport, Aston will also benefit from Ford’s advantage in procuring raw materials at discount, especially for aluminum.

Aston CEO Ulrich Bez confirmed that Volvo’s knowledge and resources on safety features would be utilized by his company, just as it was used for the DB9 and V8 Vantage. Experts from Volvo are helping to develop the stiff aluminum structure of the Rapide, including designing the B-pillar and side-members to optimise occupant safety during side impact collisions.

Now the rush is on to launch the Rapide sports sedan ahead of rival Porsche's four-door Panamera. The proposed launch date for the new model is in late 2008 and it could potentially add another 1,000 to 2,000 units on top of the niche sports carmaker’s current production levels.