Aston Martin and Maybach are discussing building a concept car together, possibly for the Frankfurt show in September — and the move could signal an impending partnership between Aston and Mercedes-Benz.
Little is known about the concept, except that it is likely to be a luxury car, with a high-quality interior finished to the hand-crafted standards of a British luxury saloon.
Aston is understood to have approached Mercedes with an idea for at least one concept, although a source suggests that two projects are the subject of discussions. Neither Aston Martin nor Mercedes would comment.
But Mercedes is understood to be close to selecting a partner to co-develop future Maybach models.
In an interview in Germany, Daimler boss Dieter Zetsche recently put a date of “the end of June” for a decision, which is pressing because Maybach needs to finalise replacements for its ageing 57 and 62 saloons.
The Mercedes design studio has been working on designs for these replacements for some time, which leaves Aston’s role in the project unclear.
Aston is most likely to bring its skills to the interior design, particularly the use of traditional materials in conjunction with hi-tech features, such as saddle leather and carbonfibre.
Aston has developed unique construction methods by adapting traditional stitching and leatherwork for the One-77, skills that would help Maybach lift the sense of occasion of its interiors to equal Rolls-Royce’s.
It also has good experience of small production runs of luxury cars and specialist marketing to high net worth individuals.
In return, Aston could get access to Mercedes’ new alloy body technology and engines for third-generation Vantage and DB9 models.