Breaking up with FoMoCo was probably the best thing that ever happened to Aston Martin. Within two years of the breakup, the brand is ready to launch the most exclusive Aston Martin ever with the One-77, has revived its Lagonda brand and is coming to the market with its four-door Rapide next year. But now Aston Martin is reported to be getting close to German automaker Mercedes-Benz in an alliance that could/will spawn hybrid Astons, a full-range of Lagonda models, a possible DB10 and maybe even a 4×4 from Lagonda.
Codenamed Project Romeo and Juliet, the program is valued at 300 million euros ($384 million USD) and has been agreed upon by Aston Martin’s CEO Ulrich Bez and Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche. Rumor has it that the cooperation could even end up with Mercedes-Benz buying a stake in Aston Martin replacing its ending agreement with McLaren.
So what are we going to see as a result of this love story? According to CAR, besides engine and technology sharing Aston Martin is expected to be the mastermind behind the next-generation Maybach that is due out in 2010.
Aston is very much interested in Merc’s hybrid technology. CAR says that both companies are talking about P1 which stands for a mild version of Merc’s hybrid module that provides an additional 135 lb-ft of torque. But that all depends on how well Aston Martin does on the Maybach job. If all goes as planned Aston is expected to get complete hybrid cars with drivetrains, joint production agreements and integration of dealer networks.
As reported earlier this week, Aston is looking to move the DB9 and V8 Vantage upmarket. Sources are saying that Aston is also looking to Mercedes-Benz for V12 twin-turbo engines and transmissions to replace the current ones made by Ford.
That’s what both companies have planned for phase one of the Romeo and Juliet program. Starting 2012, phase two will kick off and we’ll see Lagonda’s first production car, of which a concept will arrive next year. Mercedes-Benz is expected to play a major role in the development of Lagonda. Sources say that on the drawing boards are a large sedan, a four-seater coupe, a four-seater convertible and a SUV based on the Mercedes-Benz GL. The large sedan will be Lagonda’s take on the next Maybach while the coupe and cabriolet will be based on the next Mercedes-Benz CL-Class. Although, insiders say that Aston Martin is still undecided on whether it wants to offer Lagonda coupes. In that case, the CL will be used as a basis to Aston Martin’s DB10.
The Romeo and Juliet program could also spawn V6 Aston Martin sports cars as well. Excited? So are we.