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Aston Martin

Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings plc is a British independent manufacturer of luxury sports cars and grand tourers. It was founded in 1913 by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford. Steered from 1947 by David Brown, it became associated with expensive grand touring cars in the 1950s and 1960s, and with the fictional character James Bond following his use of a DB5 model in the 1964 film Goldfinger. Their sports cars are regarded as a British cultural icon. Aston Martin has held a Royal Warrant as purveyor of motorcars to the Prince of Wales since 1982. It has over 150 car dealerships in over 50 countries on six continents, making them a global automobile brand. The company is traded at the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. In 2003 it received the Queens Award for Enterprise for outstanding contribution to international trade. The company has gone bankrupt seven times in its history.
Aston Martin primarily operates on three sites. The headquarters and main production of its sports cars and grand tourers are in a 22-hectare 55-acre facility in Gaydon, Warwickshire, England, on the site of a former RAF V Bomber airbase alongside one of Jaguar Land Rovers development centres. The 36-hectare 90-acre factory in St. Athan, Wales is the production site of the companys first-ever SUV the DBX and future Lagonda models, and the old plant in Newport Pagnell now serves as the home of the Aston Martin Works classic car department. Aston Martin has announced plans to turn itself into a global luxury brand, and is increasingly branching out into projects including speed boats, bicycles, clothing and real estate development, even submarines and aircraft, mostly on a licensing basis.

1. History
Aston Martin had a troubled history after the third quarter of the 20th century but has also enjoyed long periods of success and stability. "In the first century we went bankrupt seven times", CEO Andy Palmer told Automotive News Europe. "The second century is about making sure that is not the case."

1.1. History Founding
Aston Martin was founded in 1913 by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford. The two had joined forces as Bamford & Martin the previous year to sell cars made by Singer from premises in Callow Street, London where they also serviced GWK and Calthorpe vehicles. Martin raced specials at Aston Hill near Aston Clinton, and the pair decided to make their own vehicles. The first car to be named Aston Martin was created by Martin by fitting a four-cylinder Coventry-Simplex engine to the chassis of a 1908 Isotta Fraschini.
They acquired premises at Henniker Mews in Kensington and produced their first car in March 1915. Production could not start because of the outbreak of the first World War, and Martin joined the Admiralty and Bamford joined the Army Service Corps.

1.2. History Inter war years
After the war they found new premises at Abingdon Road, Kensington and designed a new car. Bamford left in 1920 and Bamford & Martin was revitalised with funding from Count Louis Zborowski. In 1922, Bamford & Martin produced cars to compete in the French Grand Prix, which went on to set world speed and endurance records at Brooklands. Three works Team Cars with 16-valve twin cam engines were built for racing and record-breaking: chassis number 1914, later developed as the Green Pea; chassis number 1915, the Razor Blade record car; and chassis number 1916, later developed as the Halford Special.
Approximately 55 cars were built for sale in two configurations; long chassis and short chassis. Bamford & Martin went bankrupt in 1924 and was bought by Dorothea, Lady Charnwood who put her son John Benson on the board. Bamford & Martin got into financial difficulty again in 1925 and Martin was forced to sell the company Bamford had already left.
Later that year, Bill Renwick, Augustus Bert Bertelli and investors including Lady Charnwood took control of the business. They renamed it Aston Martin Motors and moved it to the former Whitehead Aircraft Limited Hanworth works in Feltham. Renwick and Bertelli had been in partnership some years and had developed an overhead-cam four-cylinder engine using Renwicks patented combustion chamber design, which they had tested in an Enfield-Allday chassis. The only "Renwick and Bertelli" motor car made, it was known as "Buzzbox" and still survives.
The pair had planned to sell their engine to motor manufacturers, but having heard that Aston Martin was no longer in production realised they could capitalise on its reputation to jump-start the production of a completely new car.
Between 1926 and 1937 Bertelli was both technical director and designer of all new Aston Martins, since known as "Bertelli cars". They included the 1½-litre "T-type", "International", "Le Mans", "MKII" and its racing derivative, the "Ulster", and the 2-litre 15/98 and its racing derivative, the "Speed Model". Most were open two-seater sports cars bodied by Bert Bertellis brother Enrico Harry, with a small number of long-chassis four-seater tourers, dropheads and saloons also produced.
Bertelli was a competent driver keen to race his cars, one of few owner/manufacturer/drivers. The "LM" team cars were very successful in national and international motor racing including at Le Mans.
Financial problems reappeared in 1932. Aston Martin was rescued for a year by Lance Prideaux Brune before passing it on to Sir Arthur Sutherland. In 1936, Aston Martin decided to concentrate on road cars, producing just 700 until World War II halted work. Production shifted to aircraft components during the war.

1.3. History 1947–1972: David Brown
In 1947, old-established 1860 privately owned Huddersfield gear and machine tools manufacturer David Brown Limited bought Aston Martin putting it under control of its Tractor Group. David Brown became Aston Martins latest saviour. He also acquired without its factory Lagondas business for its 2.6-litre W. O. Bentley-designed engine. Lagonda moved operations to Newport Pagnell and shared engines, resources and workshops. Aston Martin began to build the classic "DB" series of cars.
In April 1950, they announced planned production of their Le Mans prototype to be called the DB2, followed by the DB2/4 in 1953, the DB2/4 MkII in 1955, the DB Mark III in 1957 and the Italian-styled 3.7 L DB4 in 1958.
While these models helped Aston Martin establish a good racing pedigree, the DB4 stood out and yielded the famous DB5 in 1963. Aston stayed true to its grand touring style with the DB6 1965–70, and DBS 1967–1972.
The six-cylinder engines of these cars from 1954 up to 1965 were designed by Tadek Marek.

1.4. History 1972–1975: William Willson
Aston Martin was often financially troubled. In 1972, David Brown paid off all its debts, said to be £5 million or more, and handed it for £101 to Company Developments, a Birmingham-based investment bank consortium chaired by accountant William Willson. More detail on this period may be read at Willsons biography. The worldwide recession, lack of working capital and the difficulties of developing an engine to meet Californias exhaust emission requirements – it stopped the companys US sales – again pulled Aston Martin into receivership at the end of 1974. The company had employed 460 workers when the manufacturing plant closed.

1.5. History 1975–1981: Sprague and Curtis
The receiver sold the business in April 1975 for £1.05 million to North American businessmen Peter Sprague of National Semiconductor and Toronto hotelier, George Minden, and Jeremy Turner, a London businessman, who insisted to reporters Aston Martin remained a British controlled business. Sprague later claimed he had fallen in love with the factory, not the cars, the workforces craftsmanship dedication and intelligence. At this point, he and Minden had brought in investor, Alan Curtis, a British office property developer together with George Flather, a retired Sheffield steel magnate.
Six months later, in September 1975, the factory – shut-down the previous December – re-opened under its new owner as Aston Martin Lagonda Limited with 100 employees and plans to lift staff to 250 by the end of 1975. In January 1976, AML revealed that it now held orders for 150 cars for US, 100 for other markets and another 80 from a Japanese importing agency. At the Geneva Motor Show, Fred Hartley, managing director and sales director for 13 years before that, announced he had resigned over "differences in marketing policy".
The new owners pushed Aston Martin into modernising its line, introducing the V8 Vantage in 1977, the convertible Volante in 1978, and the one-off Bulldog styled by William Towns in 1980. Towns also styled the futuristic new Lagonda saloon, based on the V8 model.
Curtis, who had a 42% stake in Aston Martin, also brought about a change in direction from the usual customers who were Aston Martin fanatics fans to successful young married businessmen. Prices had been increased by 25%. There was speculation that AML was about to buy Italian automobile manufacturer Lamborghini. At the end of the 1970s, there was widespread debate about running MG into the Aston Martin consortium. 85 Tory MPs formed themselves into a pressure group to get British Leyland to release their grip hand it over. CH Industrials plc car components bought a 10% share in AML. But in July 1980, blaming a recession, AML cut back their workforce of 450 by more than 20% making those people redundant.

1.6. History 1981–1991: Victor Gauntlett
In January 1981, there having been no satisfactory revival partners, Alan Curtis and Peter Sprague announced they had never intended to maintain a long-term financial stake in Aston Martin Lagonda and it was to be sold to Pace Petroleums Victor Gauntlett. Sprague and Curtis pointed out that under their ownership AML finances had improved to where an offer for MG might have been feasible.
Gauntlett bought a 12.5% stake in Aston Martin for £500.000 via Pace Petroleum in 1980, with Tim Hearley of CH Industrials taking a similar share. Pace and CHI took over as joint 50/50 owners at the beginning of 1981, with Gauntlett as executive chairman. Gauntlett also led the sales team, and after some development and publicity when the Lagonda became the worlds fastest four-seater production car, was able to sell the car in Oman, Kuwait, and Qatar.
In 1982, Aston Martin was granted a Royal Warrant of Appointment by the Prince of Wales.
Understanding that it would take some time to develop new Aston Martin products, they created an engineering service subsidiary to develop automotive products for other companies. It was decided to use a trade name of Salmons & Son, their in-house coachbuilder, Tickford which Aston Martin had bought in 1955. Tickfords name had been long associated with expensive high-quality carriages and cars along with their folding roofs. New products included a Tickford Austin Metro, a Tickford Ford Capri and even Tickford train interiors, particularly on the Jaguar XJS. Pace continued sponsoring racing events, and now sponsored all Aston Martin Owners Club events, taking a Tickford-engined Nimrod Group C car owned by AMOC President Viscount Downe, which came third in the Manufacturers Championship in both 1982 and 1983. It also finished seventh in the 1982 24 Hours of Le Mans race. However, sales of production cars were now at an all-time low of 30 cars produced in 1982.
As trading became tighter in the petroleum market, and Aston Martin was requiring more time and money, Gauntlett agreed to sell Hays/Pace to the Kuwait Investment Office in September 1983. As Aston Martin required greater investment, he also agreed to sell his share holding to American importer and Greek shipping tycoon Peter Livanos, who invested via his joint venture with Nick and John Papanicolaou, ALL Inc. Gauntlett remained chairman of AML, 55% of the stake was owned by ALL, with Tickford a 50/50 venture between ALL and CHI. The uneasy relationship was ended when ALL exercised options to buy a larger share in AML; CHIs residual shares were exchanged for CHIs complete ownership of Tickford, which retained the development of existing Aston Martin projects. In 1984, Papanicolaous Titan shipping business was in trouble so Livanoss father George bought out the Papanicolaous shares in ALL, while Gauntlett again became a shareholder with a 25% holding in AML. The deal valued Aston Martin/AML at £2 million, the year it built its 10.000th car.
Although as a result Aston Martin had to make 60 members of the workforce redundant, Gauntlett bought a stake in Italian styling house Zagato, and resurrected its collaboration with Aston Martin.
In 1986, Gauntlett negotiated the return of the fictional British secret agent James Bond to Aston Martin. Cubby Broccoli had chosen to recast the character using actor Timothy Dalton, in an attempt to re-root the Bond-brand back to a more Sean Connery-like feel. Gauntlett supplied his personal pre-production Vantage for use in the filming of The Living Daylights, and sold a Volante to Broccoli for use at his home in America. Gauntlett turned down the role of a KGB colonel in the film, however: "I would have loved to have done it but really could not afford the time."
Aston Martin needed funds to survive in the long term. In May 1987, Gauntlett and Prince Michael of Kent were staying at the home of Contessa Maggi, the wife of the founder of the original Mille Miglia, while watching the revival event. Another house guest was Walter Hayes, vice-president of Ford of Europe. Despite problems over the previous acquisition of AC Cars, Hayes saw the potential of the brand and the discussion resulted in Ford taking a share holding in September 1987. In 1988, having produced some 5.000 cars in 20 years, a revived economy and successful sales of limited edition Vantage, and 52 Volante Zagato coupes at £86.000 each; Aston Martin finally retired the ancient V8 and introduced the Virage range.
Although Gauntlett was contractually to stay as chairman for two years, his racing interests took the company back into sports car racing in 1989 with limited European success. However, with engine rule changes for the 1990 season and the launch of the new Volante model, Ford provided the limited supply of Cosworth engines to the Jaguar cars racing team. As the entry-level DB7 would require a large engineering input, Ford agreed to take full control of Aston Martin, and Gauntlett handed over Aston Martins chairmanship to Hayes in 1991. In 1992, the high-performance variant of the Virage called the Vantage was announced, and the following year Aston Martin renewed the DB range by announcing the DB7.

1.7. History 1991–2007: Ford Motor Company
Ford placed Aston Martin in the Premier Automotive Group, invested in new manufacturing and ramped up production. In 1994, Ford opened a new factory at Banbury Road in Bloxham to manufacture the DB7. In 1995, Aston Martin produced a record 700 cars. Until the Ford era, cars had been produced by hand coachbuilding craft methods, such as the English wheel. In 1998, the 2.000th DB7 was built, and in 2002, the 6.000th, exceeding production of all of the previous DB series models. The DB7 range was revamped by the addition of more powerful V12 Vantage models in 1999, and in 2001, Aston Martin introduced the V12-engined flagship model called the Vanquish which succeeded the aging Virage now called the V8 Coupe.
At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan in 2003, Aston Martin introduced the AMV8 Vantage concept car. Expected to have few changes before its introduction in 2005, the Vantage brought back the classic V8 engine to allow Aston Martin to compete in a larger market. 2003 also saw the opening of the 22-hectare 55-acre Gaydon factory, the first purpose-built factory in Aston Martins history. Also introduced in 2003 was the DB9 coupe, which replaced the ten-year-old DB7. A convertible version of the DB9, the DB9 Volante, was introduced at the 2004 Detroit Auto Show.
In October 2004, Aston Martin set up the dedicated 12.500 square metres 135.000 sq ft AMEP engine production plant within the Ford Germany Niehl, Cologne plant. With the capacity to produce up to 5.000 engines a year by 100 specially trained personnel, like traditional Aston Martin engine production from Newport Pagnell, assembly of each unit was entrusted to a single technician from a pool of 30, with V8 and V12 variants assembled in under 20 hours. By bringing engine production back to within Aston Martin, the promise was that Aston Martin would be able to produce small runs of higher performance variants engines. This expanded engine capacity allowed the entry-level V8 Vantage sports car to enter production at the Gaydon factory in 2006, joining the DB9 and DB9 Volante.
In December 2003, Aston Martin announced it would return to motor racing in 2005. A new division was created, called Aston Martin Racing, which became responsible, together with Prodrive, for the design, development, and management of the DBR9 program. The DBR9 competes in the GT class in sports car races, including the world-famous 24 Hours of Le Mans.
In 2006, an internal audit led Ford to consider divesting itself of parts of its Premier Automotive Group. After suggestions of selling Jaguar Cars, Land Rover, or Volvo Cars were weighed, Ford announced in August 2006 it had engaged UBS AG to sell all or part of Aston Martin at auction.

1.8. History 2007–2013: David Richards
On 12 March 2007, a consortium led by Prodrive chairman David Richards purchased Aston Martin for £475 million US$848 million. The group included American investment banker John Singers and two Kuwaiti companies namely Investment Dar and Adeem Investment; Prodrive had no financial involvement in the deal. Ford kept a stake in Aston Martin valued at £40 million US$70 million.
In order to demonstrate the V8 Vantages durability across hazardous terrain and promote the car in China, the first east–west crossing of the Asian Highway was undertaken between June and August 2007. A pair of Britons drove 12.089 km 7.512 miles from Tokyo to Istanbul before joining the European motorway network for another 3.259 km 2.025 miles to London. The promotion was so successful Aston Martin opened dealerships in Shanghai and Beijing within three months.
On 19 July 2007, the Newport Pagnell plant rolled out the last of nearly 13.000 cars made there since 1955, a Vanquish S. The Tickford Street facility was converted to Aston Martin Works which focuses on heritage sales, service, spares and restoration operations. UK production is now concentrated on the 22-hectare 55-acre facility in Gaydon on the former RAF V-bomber airfield. In March 2008, Aston Martin announced a partnership with Magna Steyr to outsource manufacture of over 2.000 cars annually to Graz, Austria, reassuringly stating: "The continuing growth and success of Aston Martin is based upon Gaydon as the focal point and heart of the business, with the design and engineering of all Aston Martin products continuing to be carried out there."
More dealers in Europe and the new pair in China brought the total to 120 in 28 countries.
On 1 September 2008, Aston Martin announced the revival of the Lagonda marque, proposing a concept car to be shown in 2009 to coincide with the brands 100th anniversary. The first production cars were slated for production in 2012.
In December 2008, Aston Martin announced it would cut its workforce from 1.850 to 1.250 due to the ongoing economic recession.
The first four-door Rapide grand tourers rolled out of the Magna Steyr factory in Graz, Austria in 2010. The contract manufacturer provides dedicated facilities to ensure compliance with the exacting standards of Aston Martin and other marques, including Mercedes-Benz. Then CEO of the company, Dr. Ulrich Bez had publicly speculated about outsourcing all of Aston Martins operations with the exception of marketing. In September 2011, it was announced that production of the Rapide would be returned to Gaydon in the second half of 2012, restoring all of the companys automobile manufacture there.
David Richards left Aston Martin in 2013, returning to concentrate on Prodrive.

1.9. History 2012–present: Investindustrial and Lawrence Stroll
Italian private equity fund Investindustrial signed a deal on 6 December 2012 to buy a 37.5% stake in Aston Martin, investing £150 million as a capital increase. This was confirmed by Aston Martin in a press release on 7 December 2012. In April 2013, it was reported that Dr, Ulrich Bez would be leaving his role as the Chief Executive Officer to take up a more ambassadorial position widely seen as the first move by the new shareholders in reviewing the leadership and strategy of Aston Martin. On 2 September 2014, Aston Martin announced it had appointed the Nissan executive Andy Palmer as the new CEO with Ulrich Bez retaining a position as non-executive chairman. As sales had been declining from 2015, Aston Martin sought new customers particularly wealthy female buyers with introducing concept cars like the DBX SUV along with track focused cars like the Vulcan. According to Palmer, the troubles started when sales of the DB9 failed to generate sufficient fund to develop next-generation models which led to a downward spiral of declining sales and profitability.
In 2014, Aston Martin suffered a pre-tax loss of £72 million, almost triple of the amount of 2013 selling 3.500 cars during the year, well below the 7.300 cars sold in 2007 and 4.200 sold in 2013 respectively. In March 2014, Aston Martin issued "payment in kind" notes of US$165 million, at 10.25% interest, in addition to the £304 million of senior secured notes at 9.25% issued in 2011. Aston Martin also had to secure an additional investment of £200 million from its shareholders to fund development of new models. It was reported that Aston Martins pre-tax losses for 2016 increased by 27% to £162.8 million, the sixth year it continued to suffer a loss.
Aston Martin returned to profit in 2017 after selling over 5.000 cars. The company made a pre-tax profit of £87 million compared with a £163 million loss in 2016. 2017 also marked the return of production of the Newport Pagnell facility ten years after it originally ceased. In June 2019, Aston Martin opened its new 36-hectare 90-acre factory in St. Athan for the production of its first-ever SUV the DBX, and two new models under the Lagonda marque. The factory was finally completed and officially opened on 6 December 2019. When full production begins in the second quarter of 2020, around 600 people will be employed at the factory, rising to 750 when peak production is reached. On 31 January 2020 it was announced that Canadian billionaire and investor Lawrence Stroll led a consortium to invest £182 million into Aston Martin in return for 20% stake in the company. Stroll will also be named as chairman, replacing Penny Hughes.

1.10. History 2013–present: Partnership with Daimler AG
In 2013, Aston Martin signed a deal with Daimler AG, which owned a 5% stake in Aston Martin, to supply the next generation of Aston Martin cars with Mercedes-AMG engines. Mercedes-AMG also was to supply Aston Martin with electrical systems. This technical partnership was intended to support Aston Martins launch of a new generation of models that would incorporate new technology and engines. The first model to sport the Mercedes-Benz technology was the DB11, announced at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show which also has Mercedes-Benz electronics for the entertainment, navigation and other systems. The 2018 V8 Vantage, unveiled in late 2017, employed a Mercedes-Benz twin-turbocharged V8 engine and infotainment systems.

1.11. History Going public
After" completing a turnaround for the once perennially loss-making company that could now be valued at up to 5 billion pounds $6.4 billion,” and now reporting a full-year pre-tax profit of £87 million compared with a £163 million loss in 2016 Aston Martin in August 2018 announced plans to float the company at the London Stock Exchange as Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings plc. The company was the subject of an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange on 3 October 2018.

1.12. History Notable events
In August 2017, a 1956 Aston Martin DBR1/1 sold at a Sothebys auction at the Pebble Beach, California Concours dElegance for US$22.550.000, which made it the most expensive British car ever sold at an auction, according to Sothebys. The car was previously driven by Carroll Shelby and Stirling Moss.

2. Brand expansion
Since 2015, Aston Martin has sought to increase its appeal to women as a luxury lifestyle brand. A female advisory panel was established to adapt the design of the cars to the taste of women. In September 2016, a 37-foot-long Aston Martin speedboat was unveiled called the Aston Martin AM37 powerboat. In September 2017, Aston Martin announced that they had partnered with submarine building company Triton Submarines to build a submarine called Project Neptune. Aston Martin has collaborated with the luxury clothing company Hackett London to deliver items of clothing. In November 2017, Aston Martin unveiled a special limited edition bicycle after collaborating with bicycle manufacturer Storck.
Aston Martin and global property developer GG Business Developments are currently building a 66-storey luxury condominium tower called Aston Martin Residences at 300 Biscayne Boulevard Way in Miami, Florida, which is set for completion in 2021.
In July 2018, Aston Martin unveiled the Volante Vision Concept, a luxury concept aircraft with vertical take-off and landing capabilities. Also in July, a Lego version of James Bonds DB5 car was put on sale and an Aston Martin-branded watch was released in collaboration with TAG Heuer.
In October 2018, Aston Martin announced it was opening a design and brand studio in Shanghai.

3. Motorsport Formula One
Aston Martin participated as a Formula One constructor in 1959 and 1960 entering six races over the two years but failing to score any points. In January 2020, it was announced that the Racing Point F1 Team will be rebranded as Aston Martin for the 2021 season, as a result of a funding investment led by Racing Point owner Lawrence Stroll.

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