Sunday, December 16, 2012

Autocar Online - News

Autocar Online - News

Aston Martin in potential AMG tie-up

Posted: 16 Dec 2012 02:00 AM PST

Recent £150m investment could bring about shared technology with Mercedes performance arm AMG

Future Aston Martins could receive Mercedes-Benz AMG engines, gearboxes and electric architectures following the British sports car maker's cash injection from a private equity firm linked to the German giant.

Investindustrial, an Italian equity firm that recently sold Ducati to Audi, has paid £150 million for a 37.5 per cent stake in Aston. It will work alongside majority shareholder Investment Dar and minority shareholders including Aston CEO Ulrich Bez and Aston chairman David Richards. The deal cements Aston's existing £100m per year product development programme for the next five years.

Mahindra & Mahindra, Geely, Toyota and BMW were all reportedly interested in Aston before the Investindustrial deal was struck. Mahindra & Mahindra is understood to have offered the most money, but the technical partnership that Investindustrial could offer with Mercedes swung the deal in its favour.

Investindustrial entered into a partnership with Mercedes and AMG when it owned Ducati. There is no confirmation of Mercedes being involved in the Aston deal, but sources have confirmed the ties between Investindustrial and Mercedes have been retained.

A senior Mercedes source said on Investindustrial, "We know these guys. They were behind Ducati and we had a very closely knit marketing deal with them. They rang and asked if they won the bid for Aston would we be interested in being a technology partner."

Among the components Aston Martin is rumoured to be seeking from AMG is a new V12 petrol engine to replace the ageing Ford-developed unit it currently uses. However, the proposed collaboration between AMG and Investindustrial appears to encompass a much wider brief.

"There is significant scope," said the source. "It would be more than just drivelines. If you look at Aston products today, it is clear that they need not only new drivelines with increased performance and improved emissions but also electronic architectures."

AMG-produced engines include a twin-turbo 6.0-litre V12 and a twin-turbo 5.5-litre V8, while a turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 is said to be in development. AMG has also engineered a unique version of Mercedes' seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox for its own models.

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