Is Aston Martin ready to accelerate?

Aston Martin boasts one of the most famous, albeit fictional, aficionados in the world – James Bond. If 007 is to be believed, its iconic vehicles can endure the most relentless car chases around European cities and with barely a scratch or dent on the bodywork.

This month, the company restarted making its DB5 range — made famous in the Bond film ‘Goldfinger’ — following a 55-year absence from production lines. But real life owners of these British classic sports cars are more likely to be seen enjoying a slightly more genteel drive around the Warwickshire countryside, where Aston Martin’s headquarters are located.

Like most other industries, carmakers have had to shut down operations and showrooms have been closed while the Covid-19 pandemic gripped countries since March.

But many UK car dealers are planning to open this week, which could spark a turnaround in the whole industry’s fortunes as the lifting of lockdown restrictions sees many more of us take to the open road.

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But, even before Covid-19, Aston Martin had been having a rather torrid time, culminating in the departure of chief executive Andy Palmer in May (who had only joined the company in 2014).

Billionaire executive chairman Lawrence Stroll, himself just recently appointed to the role, brought Mr Palmer’s tenure to an emergency stop after the company’s share price plummeted from £19 to 50p after Mr Palmer took it public in 2018.

The good news is that a new chief executive with years of experience in the automotive industry has already been appointed. Tobias Moers will take the steering wheel at Aston Martin on 1 August from Mercedes-AMG and has the task of turning around the business.

While Mr Stroll also recently oversaw an equity capital raise of £536m, the British company’s first quarter results showed just how dire its finances had become. Revenue was down to £78.6m from £196m in the same period a year earlier, as Covid-19 impacted dealer demand, it reported.

But Mr Moers in the driving seat, the sports carmaker could soon be back on course.

In further positive news, Aston Martin will have a place on the Formula 1 grid when the 2021 season gets underway for the first time in more than 60 years. The team will race as Aston Martin F1 Team, having been rebranded from Racing Point.

There are even reports that F1 driver Sebastian Vettel may be about to join the Aston Martin team from Ferrari – a move that would surely give the luxury carmaker a strong chance of claiming poll position.

Happily for the UK-based firm, Aston Martin has also begun reopening some of its manufacturing facilities in what should be a much-needed boost for its finances.

So while you may need to be within 007’s circle to buy an enigmatic DB5, any of us can own the company stock and potentially be part of its getaway.

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