Massive changes have been announced at two of the world's most popular performance car brands.
In an unexpected turn of events, Aston Martin's boss, Andy Palmer, is now without a job. The British car company is in deep trouble, with its stock price floundering, and shareholders have had enough.
Although Lance Stroll's father, Lawrence, recently invested R4-billion to obtain a 25% interest in Aston Martin, the losses have continued under Palmer's management. In an attempt to save Aston Martin, interested parties have moved quickly to depose Palmer, and install a new boss: from AMG.
Changing from AMG to Aston Martin
Tobias Moers will transfer from Affalterbach to Gaydon, with the unenviable task of returning Aston Martin to profitability. The German has faultless credentials, including more than two decades at AMG, where he rose to the position of CEO.
A talented driver and brilliant engineer, with commanding strategic vision, Moers has managed to notably increase AMG's product portfolio and profitability in the last decade.
Aston Martin shareholders and employees will now hope he can do the same for them.
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Tobias Moers - Image: Daimler
Although it might seem odd to depose an English CEO at Aston Martin and replace him with a German, this is not a peculiar theme for the British car industry.
Jaguar and Land Rover achieved unprecedented success and global acclaim during the last decade, even since former BMW engineer, Ralf Speth, became CEO. Since 2014, Bentley has been under the management of Wolfgang Dürheimer, who has Munich roots and was a senior R&D executive at Porsche.
The truth is simply that historic British premium car brands, do much better when there is a German in control of them. Aston Martin's own history is evidence of this. The most successful Aston Martin boss, of recent times, was Ulrich Bez.
What does Moers need to do?
Solving the engine crisis and finding economies of scale, to save costs will be a vital tasking for Moers.
AMG already supplies Aston Marin with its 4-litre turbocharged V8 engine. And the brand's iconic V12 engines, are built in a dedicated corner of Ford's powerplant assembly facility, in Cologne, Germany. Having a German CEO could easy any immediate supply chain concerns, for Aston Martin's engine department.
Electrification will be another issue. Moers has overseen the start of hybridisation for AMG, which has been challenging for a brand which trades on the acoustic drama of its petrol engines. Aston Martin V8s and V12s have also been revered for their intense sound signatures.
Something that Moers managed to keep undiluted at AMG, even when Mercedes-Benz enforced downsizing of its V8 engines, was ensuring that customers were not disappointed with how their cars sounded.
Image: Aston Martin
For Moers, the challenge at Aston Martin will be to keep its engines sounding dramatic while lowering the overall emissions number, with sophisticated hybridisation.
Adding an electric drive to any internal combustion powertrain is expensive. When you sell as few cars as Aston Martin do, it does not allow for that cost to be spread over significant production volumes. Where Moers could be of great help to Aston Martin, as it attempts to create a new generation of e-drive powertrains, will be his standing in the German automotive industry.
With unparalleled knowledge and networking access, Moers could negotiate a lot more successfully for the specific technologies that Aston Martin would need for e-hybrid powertrains. Especially as most of those battery and motor bits are sourced within the powerful German component and supplier community.
The presence of a German atop the management structure at Aston Martin should signal hope for fans of the brand.
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