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Aston Turns to Chinese Partner to Develop Electric Rapide

Project could also be used by new Faraday Future start-up.

by on Feb.17, 2016

Aston wants to plug you into a battery-powered version of the Rapide.

Pushing ahead on the development of its first battery-electric sports car, Aston Martin will partner up with Chinese consumer electronics firm LeEco.

The two hope to have their first vehicle, based on Aston Martin’s Rapide S model, in production by 2018. But the venture could also tie up with another aspiring electric vehicle manufacturer, Faraday Future, Aston CEO Andy Palmer said during a news conference in Frankfurt, Germany.

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Tying up with LeEco “brings Aston Martin’s electric car project forward,” said Palmer, who joined the British sports car company in 2014 after serving as global product planning chief for Nissan Motor Co. – where he also oversaw the Japanese maker’s electrification efforts.

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Aston Martin Looking for New Plant Site

U.S., Britain, Middle East among top options.

by on Dec.10, 2015

The concept version of the Aston Martin DBX. The production model will be a 4-door.

As it moves forward with plans to launch its first-ever sport-utility vehicle, Aston Martin is reportedly looking at a number of different options for a new assembly plant, including at least one site in the United States, as well as one in the Mideast.

Unveiled in concept form at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, the production version of the Aston Martin DBX is expected to become one of the British maker’s most important models ever, at least from a volume standpoint. It will go up against a fast-growing assortment of luxury SUVs, ranging from the new Bentley Bentayga to the Lamborghini Urus.

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“The new factory is intended to give us the capacity to build the DBX crossover, which comes around the turn of the decade,” Simon Sproule, Aston’s global marketing chief, tells TheDetroitBureau.com. “At present, (we are) aiming to confirm the site in the coming few weeks – either side of the New Year. Sites are still under review but do include U.S., UK and locations ‘to the east of the UK’”

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Aston Martin Goes Electric

Sports carmaker reveals RapidE battery concept for British royalty and Chinese leader.

by on Oct.22, 2015

Aston hopes to bring a production version of the RapidE battery car to market as early as 2017.

At first glance, you might mistake it for an “every day” Aston Martin Rapide S, if one could apply such a term to a $200,000 sports car capable of launching from 0 to 60 in barely 4 seconds.

But this was no ordinary Aston rolled out for a special tour given an entourage of British royalty, Chinese President Xi Jinping along for the trip. The first hint? A distinct lack of that guttural roar one expects from an exotic supercar. In this case, it was more like a mechanical purr.

A closer look at the badge on the concept vehicle offered a hint of the key difference, rather than using a gas-powered engine to pump out 552 horsepower, the Aston Martin RapidE prototype relies on a new all-electric drivetrain.

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Lamborghini Readying “Everyday” Supercar

Is production version of Estoque on the way?

by on May.26, 2011

The 2008 Lamborghini Estoque offers a hint of what the maker might offer as an "everyday" car.

When the new Lamborghini Aventador was introduced, earlier this year, it included a feature that allows a driver to slightly raise the nose to prevent the front wing from scraping on speed bumps or steep driveways.

For the Italian maker, that’s about as big a concession as it has ever made for day-to-day driving – most owners pulling their Gallardos and Murcielagos out of the garage only on weekends or special occasions.

But that’s about to change, according to Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann, who has confirmed an earlier report in TheDetroitBureau.com that the maker is developing what he has dubbed “an everyday car.”

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“We are going to have a third model,” the German-born, Italian-reared executive announced during a conference sponsored by the Reuters news service.  “It has to be an everyday car.  We want to have a car which is able to be used on a daily basis.”

What Winkelmann has in mind remains to be seen.  In fact, he told TheDetroitBureau.com at the recent Geneva Motor Show that final plans are still under review and likely won’t be completed for some months to come. But one possible direction was offered up by the automaker in the form of the Lamborghini Estoque concept car that was introduced at the 2008 Paris Motor Show.

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Aston’s £150,000 Rapide Unveiled at Frankfurt

When is a saloon a sports car or can you turn one into a sedan?

by on Sep.15, 2009

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The company, optimistically, hopes to sell between 1,500 and 2,000 of four-door models annually.

The CEO of Aston Martin unveiled its four-door car today at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Dr. Ulrich Bez said, “Rapide is the culmination of the Aston Martin range of sports cars, a car that seals the revival of a truly admired marque. There is now an Aston Martin for every taste and for every use.”

First deliveries of the Rapide will begin early in 2010, as the saloon becomes available globally through Aston Martin’s 125 dealerships. The company, optimistically we think, hopes to sell between 1,500 and 2,000 of  the four-door models annually. It faces stiff competition from Bentley, long established in the fast four-door segment, and Porsche’s new Panamera. Rapide will be built in Graz, Austria, not in the company’s West Midlands, United Kingdom home.

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Porsche Betting Big on Panamera

German maker’s 4-door sports car could be key to U.S. success, global survival.

by on Jun.19, 2009

The 2010 Porsche Panamera could begin the next big breakthrough product for the tiny German company, or be a costly anchor around its corporate neck.

The 2010 Porsche Panamera could begin the next big breakthrough product for the tiny German company, or be a costly anchor around its corporate neck.

Porsche has a way of coming up with the unexpected and confounding conventional wisdom. Despite the naysayers, the German maker’s sports car/SUV, the Cayenne, has become its top-selling product in the critical U.S. market. And despite its miniscule size, this David could yet win a battle to merge withor even gain control of the German Goliath, Volkswagen.

But will Porsche pull it off once again when it finally brings the controversial new Panamera to market, in the coming months. This time, the maker of the legendary 911 is putting its sports car know-how into its first-ever four-seat sedan, and if company forecasts hold true, the Panamera could become Porsche’s most important, if risky, product launch ever.

Success, insiders suggest, could also help shore up company finances battered by the costly and ongoing battle with VW.

“We are confident Panamera will not only stabilize but even boost our sales,” declared Porsche board member and marketing chief Klaus Berning, at an event marking the first time journalists could test drive the new sedan. (A full review of the 2010 Porsche Panamera will be posted on TheDetroitBureau.com over the coming weekend.)

Berning acknowledged that the German maker is feeling “the cold wind” of the global economic meltdown, especially in the United States, a market that traditionally accounts for a third of its worldwide sales – which during the 2008 fiscal year came to 96,852. U.S. sales, for ’08 totaled 31,800, but they’ve been plummeting ever since, with 2009 volume so far off about 30%.

The luxury car segment has, in fact, been the hardest hit in the American market, noted Detlev von Platen, CEO of Porsche Cars North America, in sharp contrast to most prior recessions. Why is a matter of debate. Some industry analysts point to plunging executives salaries and bonuses, others to the reduced availability of leasing, all factors that can put a car like Panamera, which will carry a “base” price of $89,800, out of reach of even the affluent.

“It’s not a price problem. It’s social perception,” countered von Platen, the PCNA boss, adding that “If you’re (an entrepreneur or senior executive) laying off people in your company, it’s hard to justify driving a 911 sports car.” (more…)

Sneak Peek: Aston Martin Rapide

Aston beats the spy photographers at their own game.

by on Apr.15, 2009

Aston Martin hopes to redefine the sports car market with its 180 mph four-door Rapide.

Aston Martin hopes to redefine the sports car market with its 180 mph four-door Rapide.

Our daring spy photographers go to great lengths to grab shots of tomorrow’s hottest products.  So what do we do when an automaker snaps some pics even before we get the chance?  Publish them, of course.

Aston Martin’s eagerly-awaited four-door sports car is still a year away from market, and its not expected to get its first public unveiling until late this year, but the folks in Gaydon thought we might want to see what they’re to.  So, take a good look at this grand tourer, which, we’re told, offers plenty of room for four grown-ups.

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