One of the few profitable brands? I guess that shows that economies of scale don't always work, and a big markup on a small number beats trying to fight with a small markup on a million cars.The Ford Motor Company is expected to sell Aston Martin, maker of the upscale British sports cars favored by James Bond, to a group of investors that includes the racing mogul David Richards and a pair of Kuwaiti companies, people with direct knowledge of the deal said Sunday.
Ford, which put Aston Martin up for sale last August, will retain a 15 percent stake in the marque, according to a person knowledgeable about the terms of the deal.
He asked not to be named because the deal was not yet final.
The sale, which had been expected for several days, will be announced Monday morning, this person said.
The deal is worth about $868 million, a figure first reported by The Financial Times...
The deal allows Ford to raise a significant amount of money for its restructuring effort, yet maintain its ties with the brand, this person said. It also returns Aston Martin to British ownership at a time when other famed British car brands have fallen into foreign hands.
Analysts have said an Aston Martin deal could clear the way for Ford to sell its other British brands, like Jaguar and Land Rover, even though Ford, based in Dearborn, Mich., has said it is not interested in doing so...
The principal buyer, Mr. Richards, is the chief executive of Prodrive, a motor sport and automotive technology company based in Banbury, England.
Prodrive helped develop Aston Martin’s racing program starting in 2004. Prodrive is scheduled to enter Formula One racing in 2008, and there has been speculation that it could use Aston Martin as a platform for its cars...
Aston Martin has been one of Ford’s few profitable brands in recent years, although its low sales volume made it more a source of prestige than earnings...
Aston Martin has about 100 dealers worldwide and sells three models: the $110,000 V8 Vantage, the $165,000 DB9 and the $260,000 V12 Vanquish.
It will soon begin production of a fourth model, the $250,000 DBS, which the actor Daniel Craig drove in the latest James Bond thriller, “Casino Royale.”
...Ford bought 75 percent of the brand in 1987 for an undisclosed amount and took full ownership in 1994 as it opened a new factory for the brand in Bloxham, England.
Ford brought in a former Porsche executive, Ulrich Bez, to run Aston Martin.
The Sunday Times in London said that Mr. Bez would keep his position at Aston Martin while Mr. Richards assumed the role of chairman.