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Aston to build Maybach?

2010-12-28 10:30

ASTON MAYBACH: The carmakers have teamed up once before to develop Aston Martin's 2009 Lagonda SUV concept.

Aston Martin is in talks with Daimler over a deal that would see the British luxury automaker design and build the German company's upmarket Maybach brand, the Financial Times reported.

The FT, citing people close to the situation, said Aston Martin, renowned for making vehicles driven by fictional spy James Bond, would take engine technology from Daimler in exchange for building cars.

CONSIDERING OPTIONS

A partnership would help both Daimler and Aston Martin reap economies of scale for low-volume niche products, and mark yet another tie-up for the German automaker.

Daimler reiterated it was evaluating options for the development of Maybach-branded products and there was no pressure to reach a decision.

"There is no cooperation deal with Aston Martin. We are often in talks about various topics, such as the donating of technology for the Lagonda show car," a Daimler spokesman said.

Daimler gave the underpinnings of a Mercedes-Benz to help Aston Martin build a Lagonda concept car displayed at the Geneva auto show in 2009.

Aston Martin was not available for comment.

PARTNERSHIPS ABOUND

Stuttgart-based Daimler, which has inked deals with battery maker BYD to build electric cars, recently said it could not have financed the third generation of its small car brand Smart without a partnership with Renault.

Low volume ultra luxury brand Maybach has struggled to lift sales while British-based Aston Martin has been on the lookout for cooperation deals since it was sold by Ford in 2007.

The rising cost of research and development for cleaner engines has driven niche luxury brands such as Bugatti and Lamborghini into the hands of Volkswagen, while British-based Lotus depends on Toyota for engines.

Netherlands-based Spyker Cars bought much larger Saab this year in another example of partnerships to help smaller makers share the costs of new technologies and gain access to key new markets.
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