Nissan refused proposals from then senior executive Andy Palmer to invest in Aston Martin before his departure to the British sports car maker, hint sources with knowledge of the matter.
Palmer, 51, is now stepping down as Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn’s second-ranked lieutenant later this month to become Aston Martin’s CEO, a move regarded as clearing the way for more cooperation with Daimler, Mercedes-Benz’s parent.
Palmer tried in 2012 and 2013 to convince Ghosn, who heads Nissan and alliance partner Renault, to purchase an Aston stake. One company insider said that they looked carefully at the proposal but that they passed on it, without revealing the reasons for the rejection. At Nissan, Palmer faced growing cooperation between the luxury Infinti brand and Daimler, which has a 4% stake in Aston Martin and a deal to provide the British carmaker with engines and electronics.
London-based ISI Group analyst, Arndt Ellinghorst stated that “I’m sure that played a role in bringing him aboard at Aston Martin. I wouldn’t be surprised if that relationship deepened – it only makes sense.”
Privately-held Aston needs new investments to stay competitive and meet tightening regulations on emissions and safety rules, as DB9 and Vantage models are proving to be problematic at this chapter with U.S. dealers seeking exemptions from new standards. The carmaker is one of the last major luxury auto brands without a large automotive group behind it.
By Gabriela Florea