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Auto blogThu, 19 Dec 2013 16:01:00 EST
The development of a partnership between Mercedes-Benz and Aston Martin has been a long time coming. The news dates back to 2008, and over the five years since was supposed to lead to a rejuvenation of both the Maybach and Lagonda brands. That program ultimately fell apart, but the tie-in was forged afresh in July when the two automakers signed a letter of intent over a renewed partnership. And now that partnership has been formalized.
In a deal just announced, Mercedes-AMG will build a new V8 engine for Aston Martin that will power a new generation of luxury GTs for the British marque, presumably to replace the 4.7-liter V8 in the Vantage. The relationship appears to be similar to the one already in place between AMG and Pagani, only in this case, will involve Daimler taking as much as a five-percent stake in Aston Martin and an observer seat on Aston's board.
The technical partnership is also set to lead to the supply of electric and electronic systems, and could incorporate "additional areas of cooperation in the future." Whether that will include a fresh attempt at reviving Lagonda remains to be seen, as does the future of Aston's long-serving, Ford-based 6.0-liter V12 engine. But for now you can read the full announcement below.
The Aston Martin Lagonda SUV concept revealed at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show didn't earn the plaudits the company is used to when it reveals new models, and it has lived an uncertain life ever since. Thought to have been scrapped along with the entire revival of the Lagonda brand, then thought to have been resurrected due to Chinese, Middle Eastern and Russian demand, another year passed before we heard more definitive talk about an Aston Martin expansion when AutoCar reported that the Lagonda could be built on one of Mercedes-Benz's AMG SUV platforms.
A report in Automotive News Europe indicates plans have gotten serious, its unnamed sources saying that the English carmaker is talking to Daimler "to extend their cooperation to building an SUV." Neither Daimler, Aston Martin nor Investindustrial, the managing partner among Aston Martin's ownership consortium, would comment. But with Investindustrial having pledged to expand the range, competitors like Bentley, Maserati and Lamborghini getting into the SUV racket and clear demand from current and future customers, it's easy to believe Aston Martin is working hard to put the pieces together.
One further potential bump on the road to an Aston SUV is the company's search for a new CEO. Ulrich Bez relinquished to top spot at the company at the end of 2013, and Aston reportedly will not finalize its model strategy without a new CEO in place.
Pebble Beach is an outstanding event if you're interested in pre-war classics, but outside of the parking lots, it's a bit light on more modern stuff. The Quail, now in its eleventh year, leans far more towards the present day, and has become one of the must-attend events of the Monterey car week.
Like Pebble, though, it's a highly exclusive affair, with triple-digit ticket prices that usually sell out at the same rate as a Justin Bieber concert. If you're one of the lucky few to hold a pass, though, you'll be rubbing elbows with a who's who of the auto world. One of the highlights of this year's event was the appearance of one Michael Schumacher, who showed up alongside one of his Formula 1 cars. A retrospective was also held on Lamborghini's 50 years of production, as well as another celebration of Aston Martin's centennial. There was also a tribute to the late Martin Swig, one of the co-founders of the California Mille, who passed away last year.
The cars, not surprisingly, were epic. Lamborghini, Pagani, Spyker, Rolls-Royce, BMW, McLaren, Bugatti and Galpin Ford all showed new models to the public for the first time, while there were also appearances by Jim Glickenhaus and his Ferrari P4/5 and P4/5 Competizione, marking the first time the coach-built masterpiece and its racing offspring were shown together. Finally, the Petersen Museum showed off its wears, including the late Steve McQueen's gorgeous Jaguar XK-SS.