Currently reading: Opinion: What new CEO Tobias Moers will bring to Aston Martin
Andy Palmer has done much for Aston Martin, but amid troubled times, we consider what Tobias Moers, currently boss of Mercedes-AMG, can bring to the renowned maker
Steve Cropley Autocar
News
3 mins read
26 May 2020

For many months it has been a matter of when, not whether, Aston Martin Lagonda’s president and CEO of the past six years, Dr Andy Palmer, would leave the job.

Things have looked bad for him since AML shares, newly listed two years ago in London at £19 amid much pomp, promptly halved in value and have since fallen lower.

They worsened when Canadian billionaire brand entrepreneur Lawrence Stroll entered the picture in January as executive chairman, bringing £540 million in rescue cash — especially given Stroll’s reputation for micromanagement and his avowed determination to correct what he clearly saw as mistakes on Palmer’s watch, such as an oversupply of cars and needless tinkering with Aston-badged submarines and Miami property.

However, the most pressing questions are raised by news that Palmer’s replacement will be Tobias Moers, chief executive of Mercedes-AMG, the performance arm of Daimler, which already holds a 5% stake in Aston Martin and provides engines, electronics and an increasing level of knowhow to the Gaydon-based company.

Moers, an ambitious 54-year old engineer who joined AMG 26 years ago and has held many roles in the company, is successful and widely experienced at making and selling high performance cars. The managing director’s role he has had for seven years is viewed as an important training ground for Daimler executives bound for bigger things: a previous incumbent was Ola Källenius, now chairman of Daimler and head of Mercedes-Benz. 

Moers must already have a good working knowledge of the business after years as its most important component supplier, so his arrival begs plenty of questions questions about plans Daimler may have to increase its relationship with Aston Martin, given the British company’s value as a provider of economies of scale for AMG engines and hardware.

It may be that Moers will view the UK assignment with relief: insiders say their relationship at AMG wasn't all sweetness and light, with Moers pressing for ever-more sophisticated cars while Källenius was a cost-cutter in the Carlos Ghosn mould. 

Moers’ arrival will also raise concerns among the faithful about Aston Martin’s ability to continue portraying itself as a British company, as well as about the fate of its sports car racing activities, given the recent announcement that Stroll’s Silverstone-based Racing Point F1 team will be rebranded as Aston Martin from next year.  

Aston Martin’s and Palmer’s difficulties have been greatly compounded by the effects of the coronavirus – which has even prevented the company from staging an international launch for the new product on which it admits its success depends, the DBX SUV – although a decline in demand for luxury goods was gathering pace even before the infection took hold. No high-end car company, not even Ferrari, is doing well at present, and many are in dire straits.

Despite all, it would be deeply unfair to ignore the six-year contribution made by Palmer, who fostered a new atmosphere of optimism and creativity when he arrived from Nissan in 2014 and within months had drawn up a very credible 'Second Century Plan' that entailed launching a new model a year. Within three years, he had renewed Aston Martin's existing model range and found a convincing and evidently profitable role for the always-problematic Lagonda brand.

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Most important of all, he led the creation of the DBX, opening and equipping a new factory for its manufacture at St Athan, South Wales. That car, impressive from the outset, could yet lead a revival of the company’s fortunes provided a worldwide demand for luxury SUVs survives when times improve.

Palmer himself has been significantly enriched by his Aston Martin exploit (one estimate valued his share allotment at the issue price at over £60m), but there's no doubt that he was totally dedicated to the assignment and will be reluctant to leave it unfinished.

There are few certainties (except that Aston Martin is currently in very serious trouble), but history may still come to show that Palmer put the company on the path to eventual success.

READ MORE

Official: AMG boss will replace Palmer at Aston Martin

First drive: DBX prototype

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Nickktod 29 May 2020

New CEO to do list

- Sack Marek Reichman  

- Facelift Vantage inside and out, bones are fine details are terrible so should be an easy fix, new less piscine grille etc

- Introduce 420bhp hybrid straight 6 version for £90k to compete with vanilla 911's like the old Vantage did (based on AMG 53 drivetrain). Porsche sell 37,000 911’s p.a. mostly Carrera and Carrera S’s. 

- Reintroduce manuals across the range for enthusiast credibility and for conquest sales from other brands who no longer offer them  

- Review F1 programme (won't happen because Stroll though)  

- Create a coherent brand roadmap: mid engined supercars vs front engined sports cars/GT's, where do saloons and SUV's fit? Electrification? Lagonda? What actually is an Aston Martin?? For me it's a luxury 2 door, front engined sports car/GT, whereas a Lagonda is a luxury sports saloon (or SUV if you must). Making Lagonda the electrified brand makes no sense as they will all have to be electrified in 1-2 generations anyway.  

- Prepare the ground for full sale to Mercedes (hence Moers presumably)

Speedraser 26 May 2020

Horrifying

What will Moers bring? Almost certainly Benz-based cars with Aston badges. I really hope I'm wrong, but this sounds like the very worst possible scenario. Is there any chance this doesn't result in "Astons" that share platforms, as well as engines, with Mercedes? The more Mercedes there is in an "Aston" the less Aston there is. Electronics and HVAC systems can be shared -- they don't make a car what it is. Engines and platforms do, and must be bespoke to Aston. The current AMG V8 is a great engine -- and it has no business being in an Aston. Will Aston's new in-house V6 survive this? Shared platforms and more engine sharing seems a virtual certainty.

There is absolutely no point in an "Aston Martin" that's a Mercedes underneath. Mercedes' record with this sort of thing is horrific. This screams automotive travesty in the making. How very, very sad.

RPrior 28 May 2020

Aston & AMG Commercial link

@Speedraser

You are overreacting and your conclusions may be totally erroneous.

The Aston Marting Brand is targeted to those with taste that seek a unique and well designed long distance Grand Touring vehicle.

There is no reason to expect shared platforms with AMG vehicles whic in themselves are highly modified Mercedes.

An AMG Engine association never did Pagani any harm.

Govno 2 29 May 2020

RPrior wrote:

RPrior wrote:

@Speedraser

You are overreacting and your conclusions may be totally erroneous.

The Aston Marting Brand is targeted to those with taste that seek a unique and well designed long distance Grand Touring vehicle.

There is no reason to expect shared platforms with AMG vehicles whic in themselves are highly modified Mercedes.

An AMG Engine association never did Pagani any harm.

Totally agree.

 

BertoniBertone 26 May 2020

Rightful chop

Steve, many things 'did for' Mr Palmer but the unforgivable one was ...ahem...'dumping' millions of quids worth of shares straight after the IPO and brazenly looking investors in the eye within months whilst they nursed catastrophic losses.

The City never forgets stuff like that. They will get you. And they did.  

I predicted both Palmer and Reichmann would get the chop last year. The Vantage's wilful over-styling alienated those that had the age, taste and money to buy: and they stayed away in their droves.

With 'results-driven' Stroll, Moers and Wolf soon to be in place, the workers at St Athan's have a chance of not just survival but prosperity. Mr Palmer can bow fritter his time away on the golf course.

I respect your comments on him but  - on performance alone - he was out of his depth when it came to the cars themselves. He had plenty of goodwill and initial investment: he just didn't understand the customer. Don't take my word for that: look at the pathetic sales. He should consider himself lucky departing as a multi-millionaire.

 

 

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