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Aston Martin may partner with Daimler to redesign the Maybach

22-Dec-2010 • Bond Style

Daimler is in talks with Aston Martin over a possible co-operation that would see the British luxury carmaker design and build the next generation of the German company’s top-end Maybach marque -- reports FT.

The two companies are sounding out a partnership in which Aston Martin could take engine technology from the German carmaker in exchange for building the cars, people close to the situation said. Maybachs sell for at least €300,000 ($392,000) apiece.

Daimler and Aston Martin declined to comment on specific talks. Both said they were talking to possible industrial partners all the time.

A partnership with the British carmaker, whose luxury sports cars have appeared in James Bond films, could give Daimler’s ailing Maybach brand a new lease of life.

“Aston Martin needs engines and nobody at Daimler wants to let the Maybach brand die,” said one industry insider.

Daimler revived the brand in 2002, when Jürgen Hubbert, then head of Mercedes-Benz cars, said it was “time to kiss the sleeping beauty awake”.

But sales of Maybachs, which have a significantly higher price tag than rival brands Rolls-Royce and Bentley, have consistently disappointed. In 2009, Daimler sold a mere 200, a third fewer than in 2008.

The development of a new Maybach model by Aston Martin, a specialist in small volume production, is likely to be much cheaper for Daimler than an in-house solution.

The British carmaker, which aims to sell 5,500 to 6,000 cars this year, could gain access to Daimler’s four-wheel-drive technology for an off-road vehicle it is considering building.

This spring it presented a concept off-road car that revived its Lagonda model name. Aston Martin has not said if and when it would bring that car, which was based on Daimler’s Mercedes GL model, to market.

Aston Martin has an engine plant in Cologne. But it could further profit from Daimler’s broader portfolio of fuel-efficient diesel and petrol engines.

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