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Merc: ‘We don’t want to take over Aston Martin’
Mercedes-Benz has no intention of taking over at Aston Martin, MB chairman Dieter Zetsche has confirmed to TopGear.com.
Following Merc’s highly publicised supply arrangement with the legendary British sportscar maker – which saw the German giant take a five per cent stake in Aston, and an agreement to supply engines and electronics to Gaydon – the company’s boss was quick to play down suggestions that Merc was planning on upping its stake.
“That’s not our plan [to take over],” Dr Zetsche told TG. “The new shareholder of Aston Martin was, and is, convinced that in the long run, Aston Martin needs a partner for technology. We think that makes sense. But it’s by no means our intention to take over Aston Martin.”
So the deal includes the supply of electronic architecture, but at this point doesn’t stretch to sharing Mercedes’ much-vaunted self-driving tech. “We haven’t discussed these technologies with them [Aston], and even if we are to offer them, the question is for this volume, whether the adjustment is feasible,” said Zetsche.
“But so far we have not refused any wishes from Aston Martin. We will see what is best for them. It’s the same with hybrid technology too – we do not exclude anything, so if they ask us for some cooperation then we will discuss it.”
Good news for Aston, but what’s in it for Mercedes? “First of all, Aston Martin is a great brand,” Dr Zetsche told us, “and we would certainly like to cooperate with them rather than watch others doing it.”
“Having a five per cent stake in a very good brand is something you cannot reject. These are commercial agreements. We sell components and AM is buying them.”
Elsewhere, Zetsche also confirmed Merc’s long-term commitment to Formula One: hardly a surprise, considering Lewis and Nico are dishing out a mighty kicking to the rest of the field. But it was not always so, don’t forget.
“I think we have proved that, even in difficult times, we stood up and did not blame anybody else, but worked ourselves on our performance in the build up to this season,” said Zetsche of Merc’s F1 campaign. “And with quite some reward, too.”
However, the boss thinks there’s more work to be done on and off track. “I think we’ve seen very exciting races this season, but we do believe the overall access for customers – especially younger customers – could be further developed.”
But the overall message is clear. “We have no end to this engagement. This [Formula One] is part of our brand identity. The first ever Mercedes was a racing car, so this means more for us than almost any other manufacturer.”
What’s also important for Mercedes, of course, is its halo stuff. The Big Benzes. When, TG asks, will we finally see the much-rumoured S-Class convertible?
“Stay tuned, I think is the adequate answer,” answered Zetsche. Watch this space…