• AMG appears to be dissolving its relationship with Aston Martin.
• The British brand could be snapped up by Geely.
• US EV startup Lucid might be the best combination of all.
Aston Martin’s friends-with-benefits relationship with AMG is coming undone. Former AMG boss Tobias Moers was ousted as Aston CEO last year, and the temporary R&D satellite he set up around the corner from AMG in Affalterbach was shut down before it could even start operating. The British brand still uses AMG engines and Benz’s previous generation infotainment systems. And Mercedes will honor all contracts and supply Aston with expertise and parts until the last of Aston’s current gas-powered models bites the dust in 2026 or 2027.
However, according to multiple sources, Aston’s planned all-new EV range, which would get replacements for Vantage, DB11, DBS and DBX in the 2026-2029 timeframe, will no longer use the Mercedes AMG 59X matrix. A German insider says: “AMG and Pagani – this is true friendship. AMG and Aston is simply a business case with a fixed expiry date.”
While it is possible for Aston to extend the life cycle of its current portfolio, the market is increasingly desperate for fresh metal that fits the bill. Topping the list is a striking all-new EV coupe/converter aimed squarely at the 2026 Ferrari F8 Tributo/Roma replacement. Executive chairman Lawrence Stroll, the Canadian billionaire who led a consortium to take a controlling stake in Aston Martin in 2020, tapped former Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa to replace Moers. Chief sales and marketing manager Marco Matteacci, CEO Roberto Fedeli and other Italian stalwarts have been recruited from the deep Ferrari/Lamborghini/Maserati talent pool, but it is becoming increasingly clear that talent is not enough. Aston needs a strategic partner.
Is Geely interested?
After Stroll’s group, and Mercedes-Benz, the next largest shareholder in Aston Martin is Geely’s Li Shifu. The acquisitive Geely chief is reportedly interested in adding Aston Martin to his mixed bag of brands, which includes Volvo, Polestar and Lotus. The Anglophile Shifu is a true Aston lover who is said to have developed a habit of giving his daughter a customized English sports car as a birthday present. To gain control of Aston Martin, the Chinese tycoon could either take advantage of the British firm’s modest $1.2 billion market capitalization and stage an outright buyout or attempt a friendly takeover with potentially significant two-way synergy effects for Aston, Lotus and possibly some of its Chinese brands.
Lucid can be a win-win
So far, however, Stroll has ignored Geely’s courtship. Instead, Stroll began flirting with the Saudi Arabian government fund PIF. The Saudis are in a position to offer fresh money as well as a technology partnership with Lucid Motors, in which they own a controlling stake of 60.5 percent. Stroll also recently started speaking directly again with Lucid’s Peter Rawlinson and Eric Bach. Why Lucid? Because cooperation with the American EV startup could lead to a win-win scenario. The original idea created in late 2021 was for Lucid to cover vehicles up to $200,000, while Aston would cater to the $225,000 plus customers, including the supercar/hypercar segment. At the same time, the Americans would end their own patchy and underfunded distribution scheme and join forces with the 134 established Aston dealers.
Aston’s traditional strengths include lightweight architectures, head-turning design and class-leading personalization. The main strengths of Lucid are electrification and digitization. But as far as bending sheet metal, putting the pieces together and turning it into something that rides and holds up pretty well, Aston has a clear edge over the startup. So, in a strange way, these two unlikely partners might actually be a good match.
In an ideal world, both brands should benefit from and motivate each other. Imagine the Lucid Air 2.0 spawning an Aston Martin Lagonda, or the Lucid Gravity SUV sharing its genes with the next-gen DBX. Aston reportedly already agreed to buy electric cars from Lucid (and clearly not Mercedes) in late January. However, this scenario is still overshadowed by Aston’s heavy debt load and Lucid’s rapid cash burn rate, to name just two complicating factors.