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Auto blogSun, 27 Apr 2014
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."
The agonizingly slow courtship between Aston Martin and Mercedes-Benz has been a regular topic of conversation ever since the 2009 Lagonda Concept debuted, riding on a Mercedes GL chassis. Beyond that one polarizing concept, though, nearly every other attempt to pair the two brands up in a major way has fallen through. Only the technical partnership between Mercedes and Aston for certain components from AMG, which was negotiated back in July, has held up so far.
That may finally be set to change, according to an excellent profile of the two brands' relationship from Automobile, which claims that two platforms will unite the Germans and Brits. The first tie up is, not surprisingly, a sports car.
As Aston Martin's VH platform - which underpins every car that comes out of Gaydon - continues to age, the pressure will well and truly be on Aston to find a next-gen replacement to underpin the successors to the Vantage, Vanquish, DB9 and Rapide. Automobile claims Mercedes has just such an architecture, in the form its new modular sports car platform. This new platform is slated for the next-generation SLK and SL and is still in its design infancy.
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.