After losing nearly $12.7 billion last year, Ford recently decided to trim the fat and sell over 90% of its stake in Aston Martin to a group of private investors. Ford gets $848 million from the sale and retains a nearly $77 million stake after owning the luxury coupe outright for 13 years.
Financial analysts see this move as merely a stopgap measure for a domestic automaker that plans to spend nearly $17 billion over the next 3 years in an attempt to restructure its lineup. However, the Aston Martin sale has a significant symbolic impact that demonstrates Ford’s growing commitment to reducing factory capacity and supplying the public with more new models. The ailing company simply didn’t have a place for a luxury coupe that routinely sells for 6 figures.
While its previous owner has fallen on tough financial times, Aston Martin has experienced a resurgence over the last 15 years. With production numbers dipping as low as 46 cars in 1992, sales climbed to 7,000 in 2006. Analysts project similar figures in 2007 for the elegant coupe featured in classic James Bond films such as “Casino Royale” and “Goldfinger.”
In the end, this move represents Ford’s resolution to slowly peel away its old skin and present a new face to consumers around the world.
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– Posted by Taeho Lim