Following a lifeline from Formula One billionaire Lawrence Stroll, Aston Martin has avoided an eighth bankruptcy in its 100-plus-year history - but as a result it has officially delayed all plans for electric vehicles.
Having taken on the much-needed new investment reportedly to be up to £500 million ($656 million) to help ease a debt burden and start building the DBX - its first-ever SUV - the struggling carmaker is suspending its first electric vehicle, the Rapide E. It has also pushed back the 2022 launch of the all-electric Lagonda sub-brand to 2025.
But the DBX looks like it could be a little late to the SUV party what with prestige models such as the Bentley Bentayga, Rolls-Royce Cullinan and even Lamborghini with the Urus already established in the ultra-luxury SUV market.
Canadian investor Stroll now owns 20 per cent of the British luxury carmaker which suffered, what CEO Andy Palmer called, a “very bad 2019". The company is said to have lost more than £100 million even though sales of its vehicles had increased.
Aston Martin also had the option to strike a deal with Chinese automotive conglomerate Geely and had that gone through it is believed that it would have accelerated the production of new electric vehicles but the carmaker went with the offer from Stroll.
As a result, Racing Point is to become the Aston Martin Formula 1 team from the start of 2021 as part of the new investment deal with Stroll. The agreement is for a 10-year initial term and Aston Martin Lagonda will receive an economic interest in the team.
Before the rebranding of Racing Point, Aston Martin will see out its title sponsorship with Red Bull until the end of this season.
Stroll, 60, made his fortune building and selling two fashion brands: He and his partner, Silas Chou, took Tommy Hilfiger public in 1992 and later sold it to private-equity buyers. In 2011, they listed the Michael Kors brand, eight years after acquiring majority control.
Stroll also led a group of investors who took over the Force India Formula One team after it was pushed into administration. Renamed Racing Point, it is based in the UK and gets its engines from Mercedes-Benz.
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