The soft-top Vantage debuts next spring.
Today, Aston Martin Lagonda confirmed that AMG boss Tobias Moers will take over as its new CEO, replacing Dr. Andy Palmer in the process. Palmer led Aston Martin since 2014, while Moers started as the AMG chief a year earlier. Now, after Palmer changed his Twitter alias from “AndyatAston” to “AndyatAuto”, Moers will be joining Canadian investor Lawrence Stroll at the British firm’s board meetings, who’s been appointed Aston Martin’s Executive Chairman in April following his $235 million cash injection. As an investor, Stroll has already put a stop to Aston Martin’s EV developments, directing Aston’s resources to the DBX and its three mid-engine car projects instead.
This morning, Dr. Palmer bid farewell to the Aston team:
It has been an honour and pleasure to be part of the Aston Martin family & to have worked alongside some exceptional women & men. Thanks also to our customers & followers. Aston Martin exists because you believe, as I do, that this company represents something special. Thank you.
— Dr. Andy Palmer (@AndyatAuto) May 26, 2020
Arriving at Aston in October of 2014 from Nissan, Andy Palmer went on to successfully revive the British company, which was yet again on the verge of bankruptcy, partly due to its aging lineup. Under Palmer, Aston managed to launch its new twin-turbo V-12 in the equally fresh DB11, along with the smaller Vantage—powered by AMG’s V-8—and the range-topping DBS Superleggera. As it continued in GT racing, Aston also got involved in Formula 1 with Red Bull Racing and Adrian Newey for the Cosworth-powered Valkyrie project.
Yet while a lucky few wait for their Valkyrie hypercars to arrive, Aston Martin now has to focus on the launch of its first SUV, the DBX, as former Lotus and McLaren vehicle dynamics gurus Matt Becker and Chris Goodwin keep themselves busy by fine-tuning the other two mid-engine cars Aston has to launch, the Valhalla and the Vanquish. This is a lot on a relatively small company’s plate, and management decided Dr. Palmer won’t be there to see it through.
In order for the DBX to happen, Aston Martin had to build a new factory in Wales, and with its cash reserve starting to dry up as early as 2018, much depended on Vantage sales. Unfortunately, the sportier, AMG-powered Aston didn’t kick off as well as expected, and Aston’s shares have fallen by over 90 percent since its initial public offering two years ago. With debts on the rise and new investors making new rules, Aston Martin is entering yet another phase.
Andy Palmer is known to be one of the most accessible and energetic CEOs in the car industry, but it’s not like Tobias Moers is one to beat around the bush. Back at Affalterbach, his leadership more than doubled Mercedes-AMG’s product portfolio, thus quadrupling sales.
The leadership switch should produce an even closer cooperation between Daimler and the Gaydon-based sports car maker; for example, Aston Martin can save on R&D, especially when it comes to the electrification of its lineup. At the same time, Tobias Moers doesn’t need to deal with AMG’s troublesome Project One anymore, and he won’t have to witness when the German firm famous for its V-8s is forced to give up on internal combustion under Mercedes-Benz. The German executive had this to add on his move to England:
“I am truly excited to be joining Aston Martin Lagonda at this point of its development. I have always had a passion for performance cars and relish the chance to work for this iconic brand which I was close to on the technical side at the beginning of the partnership between the two companies. Following the arrival of Lawrence, as Executive Chairman, the significant investment from his Yew Tree Consortium, the completion of the equity raise and the reset, I believe that there is a significant opportunity to harness the strengths of the business to successfully deliver the planned product expansion and brand elevation. I am looking forward to working with Lawrence and the whole Aston Martin team to build a stronger business for our customers, our employees, our partners and our shareholders.”
Now, once again, it’s up to an SUV to trigger a sales miracle.