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Billionaire Lawrence Stroll’s £235 Million Venture Into Aston Martin

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Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll leads consortium to purchase stake of Aston Martin Lagonda after difficult trading conditions leave the car maker with no other choice but to seek outside funding.
Billionaire Lawrence Stroll
Billionaire Lawrence Stroll. Credit: Getty Images

The British marque whose shares are currently trading around 70% lower than their IPO launch in 2018, has had a particularly tough time last year with current chairman Penny Hughes stating “The difficult trading performance in 2019 resulted in severe pressure on liquidity which has left the company with no alternative but to seek substantial additional equity financing. Without this the balance sheet is not robust enough to support the operations of the group.”

Aston Martin Vantage in Tungsten Silver and Lime Essence
Sales of the Vantage have not met projections. Credit: Aston Martin

Billionaire Lawrence Stroll is confident however, that with the right investment and outside business acumen, the fortunes of Aston Martin can be turned around, saying “I believe that this combination of capital and my experience of both the motor industry and building highly successful global brands will mean that, over time, we fulfill Aston Martin Lagonda’s potential.”

Stroll, whose billions are largely attributed to early investments and subsequent business deals involving fashion brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors, has long been affiliated with the car world.

His involvement dates back to the 90’s with the sponsorship of the Lotus racing team via his fashion brands, while 2000 saw the (family) purchase of the entire Canadian Mont-Tremblant race circuit and by 2018 Stroll was instrumental in the purchase of distressed Formula 1 team Force India (later renamed Racing Point).

Not to mention his extensive collection of vintage Ferrari’s and rare cars.

It comes as little surprise that Stroll has now turned his attention towards the British marque in need of a helping hand, once again leading a consortium of international investors in the purchase 45.6 million newly issued shares at £4 (down from the IPO price of £19) to raise £182 million immediately, with further planned investment to bring their total equity investment to £235 million for a 20% stake in the company. 

Aston Martin DBX SUV
Lawrence Stroll’s investment will help deliver the Aston Martin DBX SUV. Credit: Aston Martin

Aston Martin themselves are also planning further capital raising with the hopes of bringing total funding to £500 million in order to improve liquidity and ensure production of the DBX SUV models at the newly established Welsh factory.

As part of the agreement, Lawrence Stroll will replace Penny Hughes as the Executive Chairman of Aston Martin Lagonda and will also be looking to expand Aston Martin’s presence in the Formula 1, rebranding his Formula 1 racing team “Racing Point” to “Aston Martin Lagonda” as of the 2021 race season.

Race fans will be relieved to know Aston Martin will continue to sponsor Red Bull Racing F1 team through to the end of the 2020 race season and hypercar owners encouraged to know that the technology partnership between Aston Martin Lagonda and Red Bull Advanced Technologies will remain in place at least until Valkeryie deliveries roll out later this year.

And for those waiting in anticipation for Aston Martin’s electric offerings…. unfortunately, you may have to wait a little longer as all further investments into electric vehicles have been put on ice until after 2025.

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Geneva Motor Show 2020 Cancelled 3 Days Before Scheduled Event Opening

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In a huge blow for the event and attendees, the Geneva International Motor Show 2020 (GIMS) has been officially cancelled.
Geneva International Motor Show atmosphere
Geneva International Motor Show 2020 has been cancelled. Credit: GIMS Swiss

The 90th edition of GIMS was due to welcome media on Monday 2nd March 2020 and the general public from Thursday 5th – Sunday 15th March with approximately 500,000 attendees expected. However just 3 days before the scheduled opening the official announcement was made that the event had been cancelled with GIMS confirming there would be no rescheduling to another time in the year.

The Geneva International Motor Show stated that the cancellation was due to an injunction of the Federal Council of 28th February 2020 that no events with more than 1000 people are allowed to take place until 15th March 2020.

Czinger Vehicles commented on the Official GIMS Instagram account @gimsswiss stating “Very disappointingly. We know how committed you are to creating the best car show on earth and how much that goes into it, so we empathize with you a lot. Heart wrenching for us as well as this was going to be the big launch that we had planned for for a long long time. Sometimes things are beyond our control…”

With nearly half a million people having already planned to attend, and around 50% of those with flights and accommodation already paid for and secured, many have the difficult decision of whether they should continue traveling to Geneva and holiday or try to contact providers and check their cancellation options. The Geneva International Motor Show has committed to refunding all tickets purchased for the 2020 event.

Geneva International Motor Show 2020  cancelled official statement
GIMS 2020 cancellation official statement.

The GIMS official response via their press release and website home page stated….

The organizers accept this decision: “We regret this situation, but the health of all participants is our and our exhibitors’ top priority. This is a case of force majeure and a tremendous loss for the manufacturers who have invested massively in their presence in Geneva. However, we are convinced that they will understand this decision,” said Maurice Turrettini, Chairman of the Foundation Board. We would like to warmly thank all those involved in the organisation of the 2020 edition of GIMS.

A few days before the opening of the event, the construction of the stands was very nearly complete. A week ago, during the press conferences announcing the 2020 edition, there was nothing to suggest that such a measure was necessary. The situation changed with the appearance of the first confirmed coronavirus diseases in Switzerland and the injonction of the Federal Council on 28.02.2020. The event is cancelled due to this decision. In the meantime, the dismantling of the event will now have to be organised. The financial consequences for all those involved in the event are significant and will need to be assessed over the coming weeks. One thing is certain: tickets already purchased for the event will be refunded. The organisers will communicate about this as soon as possible, via their website.

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New Supercar Company by Next Gen Marc Philipp Gemballa

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Marc Philipp Gemballa, the son of late German auto tuner Uwe Gemballa, is building on his father’s auto legacy by starting a high performance car company.

A week out from this years now cancelled Geneva Motor Show, Marc Philipp Gemballa the 26 year old son of legendary German auto tuner Uwe Gemballa, has announced his intentions to launch a brand new supercar company bearing his name “Marc Philipp Gemballa”.

The Next Generation of the Gemballa Family Name Marc Philipp Gemballa
The Next Generation of the Gemballa Family Name. Credit: Marc Philipp Gemballa

Revealing the announcement via social media, Marc revealed the fully funded project has been in development for almost two years and already has client orders.

Marc was also quick to note that while he will continue with the legacy of his father, this will not be the same tuning/body kit car brand and is an entirely new company, not to be confused with the currently operating Gemballa GmbH founded by his late father.

Marc Philipp Gemballa age 4, pictured with a Gemballa '911 in 1997
Marc Philipp Gemballa age 4, pictured with a Gemballa ‘911 in 1997. Credit: Marc Philipp Gemballa

While only a single teaser image has been provided, we do know the design is attributed to French car exterior designer Alan Derosier who has previously worked for brands like Chery, Faraday Future and Renault and was the project leader for the Porsche 908-04 concept car.

Other partners of the project include Michelin & BF Goodrich Tires (suppliers of heavy duty off-road/rally tires), German based KW Suspension (who actually test their suspension on the Nürburgring track) and Slovenian performance exhaust manufacturer Akrapovič.

The planned big reveal was for the 2020 Geneva International Motor Show held at the Palexpo Convention Centre. 3 Days out from the international event Swiss authorities banned events with more than 1000 people due to Coronavirus fears. Like most of the automakers that were planning to exhibit and reveal products, Marc Philipp Gemballa will now have to reschedule and re-think its big reveal.

Marc Philipp Gemballa uploaded a teaser of things to come
Marc Philipp Gemballa uploaded a teaser of things to come. Credit: Marc Philipp Gemballa

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Where the $2.2 Million Lotus EVIJA Will Be Produced

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The new Lotus manufacturing facility in Hethel, UK is now ready for the testing and full-scale production of the fully-electric Lotus Evija.
Lotus Evija EV hypercar production facility light tunnel
Lotus Evija EV hypercar production facility light tunnel. Credit: Lotus Cars
  • The newest car production facility in the world according to Lotus
  • Interior is illuminated by more than 30,000 LED’s
  • All 130 examples of the $2.2 Million EV hypercar will be produced here

When the new fully-electric two seat Lotus Evija was announced in July last year, work was already underway to complete the new production facility where the EV hypercar would see its final testing and full scale production take place.

Lotus have now revealed the assembly hall is ready and some of the first examples to roll off the production line will be rolled out next door to undergo further testing on Lotus’ notable 2.2-mile circuit which has hosted testing and shake-down sessions with many Formula 1 legends such as Ayrton Senna, Emerson Fittipaldi, Jim Clark and others.

The new workspace will see Lotus hand-build up to 130 examples of the Evija with full-scale production expected to commence soon in the second half of 2020.

Phil Popham, the Lotus Cars CEO spoke to his 1400 employees and stated “With our new factory ready, we are ahead of the pack in the emerging EV hypercar segment and 100% ready for some healthy competition.”

Commenting on the new milestone for Lotus, Phil went on further to say “This is now the newest car production facility in the world, and to witness it move from the drawing board to reality has been deeply satisfying. It’s testament to the commitment of all involved, and is the perfect sleek and high-tech production home for the Evija at our iconic Hethel headquarters.”

Lotus Evija EV hypercar production facility gantry and crane
Gantries on 3 sides with an overhead crane. Credit: Lotus Cars
Lotus Evija EV hypercar production facility vehicle lift
One of the Evija production facility’s vehicle lifts. Credit: Lotus Cars

30,000 of the latest high-density, low-energy LEDs will shower the build hall that contains gantries on three sides, an overhead gantry crane, multiple vehicle lifts and a wheel alignment ramp. Lotus have also included a state-of-the-art light tunnel where rigorous final inspections take place before each Lotus Evija is driven out directly on to the test track for dynamic validation.

The last six months has reportedly seen the project involve the co-ordination of 20 specialist contractors and more than 50 experts.

Lotus Evija EV hypercar to be hand built at the production facility
Some of the Lotus Evija will be hand built. Credit: Lotus Cars
Lotus Evija EV hypercar to be hand built at the production facility
Every element of the Evija will be meticulously analysed and validated. Credit: Lotus Cars

Lotus Evija Specs

*Note these are target specifications

  • Name: Lotus Evija (Type 130)
  • Powertrain: Pure electric, 4WD
  • Power: The target is to be the most powerful production car in the world, at 2,000 PS
  • Battery power:  70 kw/h / 2,000 kW
  • Torque: 1,700 Nm with torque vectoring
  • 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph): Under three seconds
  • 0-300 km/h (0-186 mph): Under nine seconds
  • Max speed: In excess of 200 mph (320 km/h)
  • All-electric range (WLTP Combined): 250 miles (400 km)
  • Charging time (350kW charger): 18 mins
  • Weight: 1,680 kg
  • Production run: Maximum of 130 cars
  • Overall dimensions (L/W/H): 4,459 / 2,000 / 1,122 mm
  • Price: From £1.7m + duties and taxes Reservation process – £250k deposit secures a production slot
Lotus Evija EV hypercar interior
The Lotus Evija EV hypercar interior. Credit: Lotus Cars

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