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Auto blogSun, 27 Apr 2014 07:59:00 EST
There's been talk of late about the technical partnership between Aston Martin and the AMG division of Mercedes-Benz going beyond engines to include Mercedes sports car and SUV platforms for the English brand, perhaps as a way to kickstart the development of a Lagonda SUV. But AMG CEO Tobias Moers, speaking to Top Gear, said that's effectively out of the question because, "No one has the time to discuss any more involvement than that for now."
Moers believes Aston Martin will be so busy "for the next two to three years" integrating its AMG-sourced engine and electronics that it won't have the resources to devote to working out a platform-sharing deal; Daimler sources have already said that Aston Martin's development budget "just isn't enough" to even consider a whole new model, and that greater cooperation would require something like a larger ownership stake in the boutique sports car maker.
AMG, in the meantime, is busy with the recent launch of the GLA45 AMG, the coming C63 AMG and its rumored 4.0-liter V8, the Mercedes-AMG GT and its assault on the Porsche 911 among who-knows-what other skunkworks projects. Moers said the technical partnership is about profit for AMG, clear and simple, and, "All these rumors about platform sharing are nice but no one at Aston or Mercedes has the time to discuss them."
If you have, like us, been salivating at the notion of a new generation of Maybach and Lagonda ultra-luxury crafts built by Aston Martin, we've got some bad news: According to reports emanating from Germany, talks between AML and Daimler have broken down.
The proposal under negotiation would have seen Daimler outsourcing production of the next family of Maybach models to Aston Martin, which in return would benefit from Mercedes-Benz platforms and engines - not only for its svelte GTs, but also for its own future Lagonda line of limousines and luxury SUVs. That, and a boatload of money - or at least that's what AML was reportedly seeking, an issue that served as the stumbling block over which the deal reportedly collapsed.
That's not to say the two parties couldn't still reach some sort of a compromise, but short of that, Daimler may opt to either shut down Maybach altogether, find another partner, or take another stab at building new models internally.
Commenting on the rush of events that rocked beginning and end of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Paul Truswell of Radio Le Mans said "the race is about the ability to endure, not just the ability of drivers to do what they do for a long time." The entire race machine, all the way down to the pit boards and radios, has to survive the stress and abuse of the entire day. This was the race to prove those words.
There were two Toyotas, two Porsches and three Audis, five of the seven led the race at some point, six of the seven ran in the top three. Toyota will be hugely disappointed that it didn't win when its car and drivers were so, so strong, but they gave Audi the kind of scare we haven't seen since the best of Peugeot's days, and Toyota did a better job of it even in the loss. Porsche blew away everyone's expectations, falling 3.5 hours short of a fairy tale ending that would have made Disney cry.
But Le Mans doesn't really do fairy tales. Well, not that fairy tale. Audi's Twitter handle during the event was #welcomechallenges. As usual, Le Mans answered for the entire field.