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Aston Martin sale sign of deep trouble at Ford
Published March 13th, 2007 in NASCAR

Ford’s sale of elite sports-car maker Aston Martin is a sign of deeper troubles at the US automaker after a failed foray into luxury European brands and a loss of focus on its critical US market, said analysts.

Ford bought into the brand made famous by fictional super spy James Bond when it was flush with cash in the late 1980s. It became the crown jewel in an expanding global empire and was never expected to make a major impact on Ford’s bottom line.

But even as Aston Martin thrived under Ford — sales increased tenfold over the past seven years to 7,010 of the hand-made status symbols — it became an increasing nuisance for executives struggling to rebuild Ford’s core business amid a steady loss of market share in the United States.

And as Ford scrambles to radically cut costs after posting a record loss of 12.7 billion dollars in 2006, Aston Martin’s 923-million dollar selling price is a welcome cash infusion, analysts said.

“Aston Martin was a luxury they can’t afford given the strain they’re under,” said David Healy, an analyst with Burnham Securities.

“They’re in a good deal of trouble,” he said in a telephone interview. “I think they’ll survive this but it’s not a pretty sight.”

More at AFP/Yahoo
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