Mahindra Interested in UK’s Aston Martin

According to Autonews (via Bloomberg), the Indian company Mahindra & Mahindra is interested in buying the brand. Another bidder interested in the brand is Investindustrial. On a side note, the Indians just recently bought Koreea’s Ssang Yong brand.

For those who don’t remember, Aston Martin was sold by Ford in 2007 for the sum of 503 million pounds (805 million dollars). This move was part of an extensive removal of unprofitable premium brands, the result of which marked the end of Ford’s presence in Europe in that particular segment.

Aston Martin was soon followed by Jaguar Land Rover a year later, in 2008, which went to Tata Motors and in 2010 Volvo went to Zhejiang Geely Holding Group. Aston Martin was the only one in that list that maintained direct connections with the UK thanks to David Richards, Prodrive boss, head of the consortium that bought the British marque and later on went to become president.

Aston Martin and the other companies sold began rolling a profit, but that doesn’t stop shareholders from seeking new capital and partners. The package that will be sold counts 40% of the shares and 50% voting rights. As already mentioned, the Investindustrial investment fund is interested in the company and can put down some 250 million pounds (401 million dollars). Next we have Mahindra & Mahindra, which came up with a more sizable bid, one that has every chance of transforming the Indians into significant shareholders in Aston Martin.

The arival of a new supporter for the British car maker may help the developer of the 1.2-million-pound One-77 boost volumes and actually develop cars that can challenge the supremacy of Volkswagen’s Bentley and Fiat’s Ferrari.

Everyone knows about Mahindra, but Investindustrial is somewhat unknown. Know than that it is an investment fund quite present in the auto industry; they are ones who sold to Volkswagen the motorcycle brand Ducatti. It also has ties with the official tuner of Mercedes-Benz, AMG.
Right now, Aston Martin is the only luxury brand world-wide that is not part of a larger auto group. It produces a range of luxury models, like the Zagato, Vanquish, DBS, DB9, Rapide, Vantage, Cygnet, which are almost entirely built on Ford platforms fitted with Ford engines.

This independent road can be a handicap these days especially with the auto industry under pressure to develop eco-friendly technologies in order to improve fuel efficiency. As an example, the BMW Group has invested over 1 billion euro (1.3 billion dollars) to upgrade its engines making them more efficient and powerful. The group has also invested heavily in developing electric vehicles. For comparison, Aston Martin had revenues of 507 million pounds in 2011.

As a bit of trivia, Aston Martins were featured in 11 episodes of the famous spy James Bond serial. Even in the last episode of the series, “Skyfall,” we find the vintage silver DB5. The high-performance DB5 Wantage was introduced back in 1964 equipped with 3 Weber twin-choke 45DCOE side-draft carburettors and revised camshaft profiles, delivering greater top-end performance in exchange for overall flexibility. This engine produced 315 horses. Only 65 DB5 Vantage coupés were built.

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