In the market: Aston Martin on the hunt for a partner

2018 Aston Martin Vanquish S

2018 Aston Martin Vanquish S

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If automotive personal ads were a thing, Aston Martin's might read something like this: single, sexy, multinational high-end sports car manufacturer seeks grounded, well-to-do partner to help in challenging times.

What Aston Martin needs, says CEO Andy Palmer, is an automotive mate who can help ensure that the low-volume British luxury car builder doesn't get swept under as other brands work toward a future of cars that can drive themselves.

Even though the automaker is eying a $7 billion valuation for its potential IPO, Palmer emphasized that Aston Martin's small scale will require expertise beyond the 5 percent stake Germany's Daimler acquired in 2013.

"We are making a new kind of a company, a company that can survive on 7,000 to 14,000 very highly priced, very profitable cars a year, but it can survive because of its partnerships," Palmer said. "It can be very profitable on that 7,000 to 14,000 cars a year but only by having a big brother that can help it out."

Aston Martin leverages Daimler for its Mercedes-AMG engines and the two firms have partnered for electronic systems. However, Palmer says that Aston Martin needs a bigger player to tackle more challenging developments such as electrification and self-driving technology.

Aston Martin in 2017 posted record revenues of $1.21 billion, helped mainly by the new DB11. Next week, it will reveal "one or two surprises" at the Geneva motor show, Palmer hinted. Perhaps one will be a suitor.

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