The news that Ford has put Aston Martin on the block has many of us wondering how the situation looks from inside Aston Martin - is this bad news or good news? On the face of it, Aston Martin looks to be in great shape. Under the leadership of Ulrich Bez, the company has begun to turn an operating profit (unlike Premier Automotive Group sibling Jaguar), and current rumors suggest that plans may be afoot for an investor group to back a management buyout led by Bez, setting the company up once again as an independent manufacturer.
The timing for an independent Aston Martin couldn't be better from a product standpoint, with the road-going version of its DBRS9 GT3 customer racecar, adorned with aggressive Casino Royale-inspired styling, set to debut in concert with the film. The high(er) performance DB9 is reported by AutoWeek to get an uprated 500 hp version of the V12, plus a racecar-inspired lowered suspension with a wider track. For the less adrenalin-addicted customer, the company is readying a new V8 Roadster model, which should hit dealerships in early 2007. (Follow the link for a spyshot portfolio of both new models.)

One cautionary note: under the Ford PAG umbrella, Aston Martin was clearly differentiated from Jaguar as the U.K.'s ultimate luxury sports car builder. Freed of the Aston Martin "glass ceiling," Jaguar could use Ford's resources to move upmarket in direct competition with its former big brother.

[Source: AutoWeek]

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