In recent years, Aston Martin has migrated toward a new generation of powertrains bought from Daimler's AMG high-performance vehicles subsidiary as it sought to move away from the Ford-based engines that were a legacy of its ownership by that company. Aston's precarious finances precipitated a purchase by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll, who quickly sourced more than engines from AMG: he snatched AMG's CEO Tobias Moers to run Aston Martin in May 2020.
Design News was invited to a video meeting with Moers, which provided us the opportunity to learn how he employs his engineering background in his role managing Aston's business, as well as getting an update on some of the company's technical plans.
Design News: Do you find that your background as a mechanical engineer is beneficial in management? Engineers often struggle with the decision of whether to stay engineers or go into management. But it seems like the technology is so advanced now even in management, you can still be an engineer and can still benefit from that.
Tobias Moers: You know, I used to run AMG as CEO and CTO and I do similar here now. So I have a strong leadership team with me I brought the right people into the company regarding engineering. The head of powertrain is obviously a former AMG guy. The head of vehicle engineering as well. So they’re used to that technology. Drummond Jacoy, he's head of vehicle engineering.
DN: Do you find that background as an engineer is beneficial?
Tobia Moers: Absolutely. Yes. Especially in a small company like us. And it is really crucial that you have an understanding of the technology. Absolutely. Because how you can you know, otherwise, how can you then move a company forward and knowing the reasonable numbers for all that investment, and having creativity and our mid-engine programs -- Valhalla, Vanquish -- they are supposed to be partially electrified in the power train, and you need to have the creativity what you can apply to these cars. And we have good ideas for doing that.
DN: Speaking of the Valhalla you just mentioned, can you give any updates on changes to the powertrain of that vehicle from the planned Aston Martin-designed V6?
Tobias Moers: Yeah, it's got to be a different powertrain. It's not the same one the company thought they're going to bring to life. Yes, we stopped the V6. It's got to be a hybrid electrified powertrain, and we change as necessary for the 1,000 combined horsepower power output. But we are undefined in the finalization of how that powertrain is going to look like. We're going to reach out to our customers because we have customers with us for Valhalla. And it's our obligation to get first with them into the discussion.
DN: Do you think you could use the AMG battery? Because the new AMG battery appears to be quite compact and very power-dense, which obviously is good for performance.
Tobias Moers: That's for sure. It's something that we consider. Absolutely. The battery is really capable. I know that battery inside out. So yeah.
DN: Do you feel that Aston Martin maybe bit off more than it can chew with so many projects such as Vanquish, Valkyrie, Valhalla, and DBX all at once?
Tobias Moers: We are focused on these things now. There is a roadmap for the future, a strategic roadmap, and as well a strategic roadmap to the fully electric-driven car. We are in the middle of the facelift for Vantage, DB11, and DBX. We are in the engineering exercise to bring these cars to life.
So we got to have a good future for sports cars. The DBX provides a great platform for the future build on. Initially, when you see a DBX being a bespoke platform, you think, ‘Oh God, how can that work?’ Because everybody else has one platform. Lamborghini and Bentley and Porsche share the same platform.
You know, Aston is a great company to bring a platform to life, you know, its reasonable investment is not out of the roof. Even the cost is okay.
And that that platform, there's a reason why DB x is such a great handling car because that platform has a lot of compliance regarding stiffness and torsional stiffness and dynamic stiffness and torsional direction as well. So it's really great car. And that platform delivers a lot of opportunities for the future. And we are really getting creative regarding that platform for the future.