Ford has sold Aston Martin to a consortium fronted by Dave Richards, the head of the British performance car and engineering firm Prodrive. Much of the money is coming from Kuwaiti investment firms. Ford will receive 700 million euros and will retain 15% of Aston Martin.
Richards called it an “incredible opportunity.” He said: “Passion alone isn’t enough in this business. To me, this company is an icon of British engineering and understated style, and yet I firmly believe its true potential is yet to come. So this truly is a new era – perhaps a new chapter – in that extraordinary story of Aston Martin.”
The company has had a chequered past since being founded in 1913, going bankrupt and passing through various hands until Ford bought 75% of it in 1987, taking full ownership in 1993. Under Ford it has made a profit and sales last year were up 50% on 2005.
Aston has benefited from free publicity by appeared in the James Bond films since 1964. The newest model, the DBS, which sells for 190,000 euros, is driven by actor Daniel Craig in the latest film.
Ford has sold because of its financial problems; the carmaker lost 9.6 billion euros last year. Aston Martin accounts for less than 1% of the Ford’s worldwide sales. Ford said its two other British Premier Group marques Land Rover and loss-making Jaguar are not for sale.