Currently reading: Aston Martin considering Mercedes-AMG platforms
Tie-up with Mercedes could extend beyond engines and electronics and allow Aston Martin to build an SUV
Autocar
News
2 mins read
27 October 2013

Aston Martin could share Mercedes-AMG platforms as part of its tie-up, says company boss Ulrich Bez.

The partnership could also lead to the revival of a plan to build Aston's first SUV.

Speaking to Autocar, Bez said there “was lots of potential to be discovered”. The initial technical deal between the two firms outlined in July gained Aston access to bespoke V8 engines and AMG electronic architectures for the next generation of Aston Martins.

“There is a potential to see how far it goes,” said Bez, referring to possible platform sharing. “I look at what Porsche is doing with the 911 as its core business and then it is able to do models like the Cayenne based on the Volkswagen Touareg. It is good business.”

Bez said he had courted a partnership with Mercedes-AMG since Aston revealed the Mercedes GL-based Lagonda SUV concept at the 2009 Geneva motor show. The deal means Aston can now consider putting an SUV into production. 

Likely to be launched around 2017 and based on the next Mercedes M-class, the SUV would be badged as an Aston Martin Lagonda, but it would be a complete reworking of the unpopular Geneva concept. 

Bez said the partnership also gave Aston the ability to react quickly to regulation changes. “The challenge in the future is for me to have a solution to, say, tax brackets in China; at the moment there is 100 per cent tax on engines over 4.0 litres,” he said. “In the future it might be less. You need to be flexible but, selling 5000-7000 vehicles a year, we can’t be.”

Bez said one thing that wouldn’t be affected by the tie-up is Aston’s 5.9-litre V12. “I believe the potential of our V12 is there for another 10 years at least,” he said.

Mark Tisshaw & Andrew Frankel

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Speedraser 29 October 2013

Because it WON'T have the character or feel of the real thing

Let's just say that I disagree. A car that is based on something else cannot, to me, ever have the character or feel of the real thing. Astons aren't inexpensive appliance cars where economies of scale should be the first priority in the design and engineering. These are SPECIAL, iconic, lustworthy and expensive cars.

I bought an Aston because it's an Aston. I didn't buy a Bentley Conti because it's not really a Bentley, not to me -- the Phaeton platform may be much modified, but it's still very much there, and the whole layout of the car is affected as a result. Would Bentley have chosen to mount that huge engine at the very front-most part of the car far ahead of the front wheels, with the consequential proportions and weight-disribution issues? Of course not. And I wouldn't buy a Ghost because, yes, it's a modified 7 Series.

It's very telling that neither Bentley nor Rolls-Royce shares the platforms of their flagship cars -- the Mulsanne has its own platform and the Phantom has its own platform.

Lanehogger 29 October 2013

As long as a car has the

As long as a car has the feel, style, character and look of the brand it's from, I don't think what it is based on should be a major issue (it's not for me) while economies of scale, better productivity and more efficient R&D more or less dictates the current world of platform and component sharing, while this can help some manufacturers who, for example, may have had a legitimately poor reputation for average engineeing and reliability, or are just unable to develop a truly bespoke car for one reason or another.

If I bought a Rolls Royce Ghost, I wouldn't even think I was driving around in a 7-Series in drag because the Ghost epitomises what platform and component sharing can do, there is no way you'd think you're in a BMW while some of the minor, visible BMW components wouldn't be a deal breaker for me. I suspect those who bought a Maserati MC12 weren't too fussed that it was an Enzo underneath, yet cost more and was less powerful. Or at the other end of the scale, those buying a MiTo are buying what is essentially a Punto underneath. Or how about a Lotus with Toyota engines. Or BMW and Minis that use PSA-developled engines. Or even the McLaren MP4 which has an engine developed from Nissan, its chassis made by a different company in Austria and it's gearbox is made by Graziano in Italy.

Speedraser 29 October 2013

This is Aston Martin. Spend the money to do it right.

Symanski,

You said "Look at the sharing that's done with Audi/VW/Seat/Skoda and Bentley. Let's not be too snobby if Aston needs a hand from big brother."

Make no mistake, my objection to making "Astons" out of Benzes has NOTHING to do with snobbery -- it has to do with honesty. I won't buy an Aston that is a Benz underneath. I wouldn't buy an Aston that is a Ferrari underneath either. I have zero interest in the Bentley Conti series because it has a VW platform and driveline. More to the point, I have no interest the Conti (great car though it is) because it does NOT use a bespoke Bentley-only platform (that it's modified from the VW Phaeton simply doesn't do it) and driveline.

After Ford saved a very nearly dead Aston with the Jag-based DB7 (which, beautiful though it is, I've never wanted because it's based on something else), they spent the money to do it right and developed the current bespoke Aston Martins (and the original Vanquish) that have proven to be the most successful Astons in history.

JIMBOB,MikeSpencer and Bobstardeluxe,

There is SO MUCH more to defining an Aston Martin than styling/design. If Aston were only about styling/design, I wouldn't have bought one. An Aston must do a lot more than "appear unique"; it must BE unique. I don't know how you measure sharing, but an "Aston" that "shares maybe 60% with Mercedes" could never be an Aston to me.

To be clear, I fully recognize that Aston is small and surely needs a deep-pocketed partner. But we're not talking about Seats and Skodas. This is Aston Martin -- spend the money and do it right again.

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