by Ray Hutton
ASTON MARTIN is planning to go to the stock market within two years to fund the next generation of its luxury sports cars.
Ulrich Bez, chief executive, said the group would have to sell shares to the public to develop models such as the Lagonda, a luxury sports utility vehicle.
The company, based at Gaydon, Warwickshire, was acquired in 2007 from Ford by two Kuwaiti investment groups, Investment Dar and Adeem Investment, for $925m (£589m).
Bez, who was appointed by Ford 10 years ago, said Aston Martin had been consistently profitable and had been able to fund developments of new cars such as the Rapide and further variants of its DB9 and Vantage models from its own resources.
Bez hopes the Rapide, the first of which will be delivered to customers within the next few weeks, will reverse Aston’s sales decline of the past two years. The company expects to sell 2,000 cars this year.
The Rapide is made in Austria by Magna, a subcontractor. The Gaydon factory, where the DB9, DBS and Vantage are built, had insufficient capacity when the new model was planned and has since had to lay off 600 of its peak workforce of 1,800.
Now Gaydon is being used to produce the limited edition 700bhp One-77 (priced at £1.2m) and the Cygnet city car. The Cygnet is a £12,000 Toyota iQ restyled by Aston Martin and richly trimmed in leather. Bez believes that Aston can sell 4,000 at no less than £30,000 apiece. The new Lagonda, a luxury sports utility vehicle, is part of Aston’s long-term plan.
Separately, the Dutch carmaker Spyker said it was exploring a London listing after acquiring the Swedish group Saab from General Motors for £47m last month.