Aston Martin boss Tobias Moers has been fired by majority shareholder Lawrence Stroll following a dispute over Aston Martin’s future.
Surprising news: Tobias Moers is leaving Aston Martin. On May 4, Moers stepped down after being hired by majority shareholder Lawrence Stroll, who owns 16.7% of Aston Martin, to revitalize the British brand in 2020.
Rumors speak of a conflict between Moers and Stroll and it seems that the disagreements between the two were long-standing. Because immediately after Moers’ resignation, Stroll announced that the new CEO of Aston Martin is Amedeo Felisa, the former CEO of Ferrari during a period of success for the Italian marque. Felisa is also not coming alone but teamed up with Roberto Fedeli, Ferrari’s former technical director who is taking over the position of chief technical officer.
But what started the scandal?
A former CEO at Mercedes-AMG, Moers has been pushing for closer collaboration with Mercedes-AMG’s sports division, a connection helped by the fact that Mercedes is a shareholder in Aston Martin and a major parts supplier.
It seems that Stroll did not agree with the fact that Moers stopped the development of its own 3-litre V6 turbo engine with PHEV system and decided to take over the new 4-litre twin-turbo V8 PHEV from the Mercedes-AMG GT S E performance 4 doors.
But Moers made it very clear that when he came to Aston Martin, the V6 engine was only at the concept stage and would have cost tens of millions of euros to develop. That’s why Moers chose a simpler solution, especially as the British carmaker was facing big financial problems.
And with 843 HP and 1470 Nm, the Mercedes engine offered exceptional performance. Moers planned two versions of this engine, a basic one for the future Vanquish (the name was to be changed) and a more powerful one for the Valhalla.
Stroll told US magazine Motor Trend that Felisa, who was a non-executive director at Aston Martin, knows the British marque well and has extensive experience running a luxury sports car manufacturer like Ferrari.
Moers brought more efficiency to Aston Martin
As for Moers, some underlings said he was difficult to work with. But Tobias Moers has some undoubted merits in cutting costs.
He closed the Gaydon paint shop and all models are now painted at the paint shop from the new plant in St Athan, Wales, where the DBX is built. However, Moers believes the St.Athan plant is too big for Aston Martin’s needs. Moers has also streamlined production of the DB11/DBS which is now produced on a single production line in Gaydon.
In terms of the model plan, Moers has reorganised the development plan for the long-delayed Valkyrie hypercar, reduced stocks of unsold cars and stopped the very expensive programme to revitalise the Lagonda brand as a 100% electric brand. The cooperation with Mercedes is also beneficial because Mercedes, which is an 11.7% shareholder in Aston Martin, not only supplies engines but also the multimedia system and electronic architecture.
Despite all these measures, Aston Martin continued to lose money. With revenues of USD 290 million in the first 3 months of 2022, Aston Martin lost USD 140 million. The target of USD 2 billion revenue per year is still a long way off.
It seems that Stroll thinks the Ferrari model is more suitable for Aston Martin than a closer cooperation with AMG. But it’s hard to believe Aston Martin will be able to develop its engines in-house taking into consideration the financial difficulties.