Mercedes-Benz and Aston Martin have been in a volatile relationship for a long time now. The Stuttgart based manufacturer which currently has a small stake in Aston is known for showing keen interest in the brand over the years. Currently AMG and Aston have a deal, wherein Aston will receive AMG developed V8 engines with corresponding electronic architectures, transmissions for its next generation of cars. However, the partnership may not be limited to just powertrains sharing as Aston and Mercedes may come together to share common platforms in order to build a sports car.
Aston’s VH matrix platform is ageing rapidly and the pressure is building up on the company to find a suitable replacement that will underpin its next generation of sports cars. The Vanquish, Vantage, Rapide and DB9 all come from the VH matrix platform and almost every model will be in need of a successor soon. Here is where Mercedes’ prowess comes into effect with the MSA platform that will underpin the next generation SL models. The MSA can support numerous body styles and will be an ideal replacement for Aston’s VH platform. Moreover, the platform is flexible enough to spawn off plug-in hybrid versions of the future cars as well.
The relationship between Mercedes and Aston Martin dates back to the Lagonda concept riding on a Mercedes GL-Class platform that was showcased in 2008. Even though the concept never made it to production, Aston is contemplating a luxury SUV to be a part of its product portfolio. With the current GL-Class platform too old for underpinning a future Aston SUV; Mercedes could most likely share the next-generation GL-Class MHA platform codenamed X167 for the Aston SUV. The Aston SUV will not share its credentials with the Lagonda concept and would be a completely new product.
Aston Martin is setting eyes on a sales target of 7000 units by 2016. But only new drivertrains won’t help sell the projected volumes. Moreover the brand has only $833.5 million to spend over a four year investment plan, which does not cut through if you need to revamp your entire product portfolio, plus add an all new SUV to the lineup. In all austerity, it is Aston here who needs Mercedes than the other way round. Aston needs Mercedes to remain afloat in the long run and knows very well that a single line of products won’t help it either.
For the Daimler group though, Aston could help in getting the credentials of a sports car right. The next generation MHA and MSA platforms are light, flexible and support high production volumes, giving Aston the flexibility to spawn new models at a relatively lesser cost. Moreover, Aston would have the flexibility to tune the car to its own standards, even though it is structured on a Mercedes platform. Mercedes-Benz acquiring Aston Martin doesn’t seem like a far fetched thought at all.
Source – Automobile