Jim Armitage: Bond's better off in bed with the Germans
Jim Armitage is the City editor of The Independent and London Evening Standard group of newspapers. He has been a reporter and editor for more than 20 years and was recently shortlisted for the Press Gazette financial journalist of the year and The Society of Editors financial journalist of the year awards. He contributes news, investigative reports and comment to the Independent titles plus a daily column in the Evening Standard.
Friday 26 July 2013
Roger Moore's Bond would raise an enraged eyebrow, Daniel Craig's would break someone's windpipe, George Lazenby's would blub like a baby. Yet more foreigners are riding roughshod over Aston Martin.
First the maker of 007's most beautiful toy ever, the Aston Martin DB5, underwent the indignity of being owned by Kuwaitis. Then the Italians got their hands on it. Now the Germans are getting their spanners under its bonnet. Daimler is not only taking a 5 per cent stake in the business, but helping develop its V8 engines. The indignity!
The truth, of course, is that this is the best thing that could have happened to Aston Martin. It is (and will still be) a tiny player on the world stage of performance cars. But with German engineering expertise, a company that has been finding it tough to compete in the investment-heavy market for £100,000-plus motors stands a far better chance of survival.
Not only that, but it appears to be buying that expertise with shares rather than cash – a less risky way of doing deals than Bond might approve of but better for the long- term good of the business.
Thanks to investment from India, Germany, Japan and elsewhere, Britain's car industry is in its strongest state for decades – possibly, ever. Who would have thought, in the era of Roger Moore, or even Timothy Dalton, that we would ever be net exporters of cars?
Proof positive that Britain should be as open to embracing exotic foreign suitors in the boardroom as Bond is in the bedroom.
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