Faulty economy or not, top-end luxury purchases are on the rise, and the new owners of Aston Martin are looking to capitalize on the trend. Plans are in place to increase Aston production from 7,000 units in 2007 up to 8,000 in 2008, but the top-luxury automaker's new owners want more. DAR (owns 50% of Aston) business development manager Adham Charanoglu has met recently with Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Daimler with regards to leveraging the Aston Martin brand with high end luxury products. While increasing merchandising revenue from $100m to up to $300m by whoring out the Aston name is nothing to sneeze at, we're mostly interested in the British automaker's conversations with Mercedes.

Charanoglu told Reuters that the two automakers could one day collaborate on everything from platforms to powertrains. It makes sense that Aston is looking to buddy up with another high-end automaker since minority owner Ford will soon be without Jaguar, so development costs could go up if Tata decides to break off ties. We're betting that only the high-end Mercedes products would be included in any partnership, though, as Aston likely won't dip below the $100,000 barrier, and an S-Class-based Aston could give Bentley fits. Rumor has it that Aston has already considered building the Rapide outside of Gaydon, so there's a chance that an Aston Mercedes could be built outside the UK.

[Source: Auto News, subs req'd]