Things are getting tougher for car companies trying to navigate the new world of electrification and tightening EU emissions regulations. The largest market in the world is China, and sales are slumping like never before. Consumer demand has spoken and cars are out; SUVs are in. If you’re a company like Aston Martin you must shift gears quickly to lessen the turmoil. Unfortunately, that isn’t happening so Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll has stepped in with some cash, but with casualties.
CEO Andy Palmer had ambitious plans for Aston Martin to enter the EV market and expand SUV offerings. Now both of those objectives have been shelved according to Automotive News. That’s not a good sign for AM that has said EVs were vital to its survival into the future.
The Aston Martin Lagonda and other projects may be casualties
The Lagonda was meant to be a new line of Aston Martin EVs and was due to be unveiled in 2022. Those plans have now been put off until 2025. Its first model was to be the Rapide E currently being developed. In spite of its progress being far along its future is now being reviewed. Aston Martin’s current focus will shift to hybrids.
The company is calling this latest news a “reset plan.” But it will take in far more than future products. There will be job cuts coming and also a heavy restructuring of its sales and marketing organizations. Now it is looking to balance the supply with lower demand in an effort to increase prices.
The Aston Martin lifeline amounts to $239 million
Stroll is buying a 16.7% stake in Aston Martin, with a pledge to increase that amount to 20%. He is part owner of Formula 1 team Racing Point. Now Racing Point will become the Aston Martin Formula 1 team for the next 10 years. The entire stock buy puts $239 million into Aston Martin’s coffers. Another Canadian, billionaire André Desmarais, is also contributing to the buyback.
Another casualty of these latest developments is the demise of Aston Martin Red Bull Racing after this year. Red Bull will continue working with Aston Martin on the Valkyrie hypercar. It is scheduled to start deliveries at the end of this year. The Valkyrie is a track and street combo sports car. It is claimed to be the fastest street-legal car in the world.
Adrian Newey, considered one of the most successful Formula 1 designers ever helped with the Valkyrie’s development. It was seen lapping the Silverstone circuit before the start of the Formula 1 British Grand Prix in 2019.
The $150 million in bonds came with a high-interest rate
Part of Aston Martin’s problem is a result of the bonds it issued last year. With the issuance of $150 million in bonds a heavy interest rate was part of the mix. But liquidity fell as the year progressed.
Aston Martin’s first SUV, the DBX, looks to still be on track for its scheduled customer deliveries later this year. It is hoped this will bring in revenue to continue the development of current projects, albeit at a slower pace.
In 2018 the company went public. Its current stock value is down 75% from the initial IPO. That figure represents a 21% increase from its previous value with this latest news from Aston Martin.