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Aston Martin’s future in doubt as sales stall, electric project axed

Business Motoring/Motorsport

Aston Martin’s future in doubt as sales stall, electric project axed

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“Shocking, positively shocking” – the famous line from a James Bond movie just as Sean Connery throws an electric lamp into a bathtub full of water into which he has just pushed the villain – may be the best adage for the current situation of Britain’s top sports car maker Aston Martin.

The company has abandoned plans to build its limited series all-electric Aston Martin Rapide E sport sedan, according to unconfirmed reports on Friday, January 10. The reason is likely to be a lack of operating capital.

CEO Andy Palmer called 2019 a “very disappointing year,” as shares fell to an all-time low, as reported at engadget.com. Aston Martin’s sales in the UK fell by 22 percent during the second quarter of 2019, while sales in the rest of Europe, the Middle East and Africa saw a slump of 28 percent, according to autoexpress.co.uk.

The Rapide made a dashing appearance at the 2019 Formula E Monaco ePrix in May, and Aston Martin was due to build a limited edition of only 155 Rapide E sedans. Production was supposed to begin at the end of 2019 at the automaker’s new plant in St. Athans, Wales, but didn’t.

The plant was meant to be the British carmaker’s new electrification centre and later the home of the revived, now all-electric, Lagonda brand. Now the future of the Lagonda is in doubt and those who have placed orders for the Rapide must be wondering about their deposits.

However, there are potential rescuers on the horizon. According to SkyNews, one of China’s leading electric vehicle battery-makers is weighing a deal that could involve taking a stake in Aston Martin Lagonda. CATL floated on China’s Shenzhen stock exchange in 2018, and is among a number of parties which have held talks with Aston Martin and its advisers in recent weeks as they seek to recapitalise its battered balance sheet, SkyNews reported.

Meanwhile, the Financial Times reported on Friday that Lawrence Stroll, the billionaire Formula One team-owner, was in advanced talks to invest about £200 million in the luxury British car-maker, giving him a 20 percent stake in the company.

ORIGINAL SOURCES: FT, engadget.com, autoexpress.co.uk, SkyNews, motorauthority.com
PHOTO: Aston Martin Rapide E Aston Martin

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