Daimler, parent company of Mercedes-Benz, has no plans to increase its stake in British sports car maker Aston Martin.
Dieter Zetsche, Daimler’s chairman, spoke to Autocar at the recent Paris motor show and is quoted as saying that “there are no plans to increase our stake [in Aston Martin] or take over”.
Currently Daimler owns around five per cent of Aston Martin through non-voting stock, and the German company has observer status on Aston’s board. It’s been confirmed that, in exchange, Aston Martin will use AMG V8 engines in its next generation of vehicles. For these new cars the British brand will also utilise electrical and other subsystems from Mercedes-Benz.
According to Zetsche, the present arrangement “is a perfect fit for both brands”.
A takeover wouldn’t be advantageous to Daimler because “Aston is only 4000 units a year so there is also a danger we would be distracted from our core business”. Daimler, by way of comparison, sold 2.35 million vehicles in total during 2013, including vans and trucks under various brands, as well as luxury vehicles wearing the Mercedes-Benz’ three-pointed star.
On the Aston Martin side of the equation, Zetsche believes that it “would not be in Aston’s interests to be incorporated into a big corporate organisation” and the current equity/tech sharing deal “allows Aston to remain independent but also benefit from outside technology”.
Later in the interview with the British publication, Zetsche stated that the upcoming S-Class-based Maybach model will likely be badged as a Mercedes-Maybach. This badging arrangement follows the trend started by the Mercedes-AMG GT and continued by the Mercedes-AMG C63.
The chairman also ruled out an SUV for Smart, saying bluntly that “Smart is not an SUV brand”. This means that unlike the Fiat 500 and Mini ranges, which feature the 500X and Countryman/Paceman SUVs, Smart will be limited, for now, to the rear-engine, rear-wheel drive ForTwo and ForFour.