Ford selling Aston Martin in $925 million deal

Troubled automaker selling luxury brand, maker of James Bond car, to Kuwaiti firms, racing company founder.

NEW YORK ( -- Troubled Ford Motor Co. said Monday it would sell its Aston Martin luxury car business to the founder of an auto racing company and other investors in a deal valued at $925 million.

The consortium of buyers includes David Richards, founder and chairman of Prodrive, an auto racing company, John Sinders, a Texas banker and Aston Martin collector, and two Kuwaiti investment firms Investment Dar and Addem Investment.

Aston Martin DB9 Volante
Aston Martin DB9 Volante

Aston Martin, founded in 1914, makes several different sports cars with prices starting at $110,000. But the brand is still best known for making the DB5, a car first driven by the character James Bond in the 1964 movie Goldfinger.

The sale values Aston Martin at $925 million, according to a Ford announcement. As part of the deal, Ford (Charts), which lost $12.7 billion last year, will retain a $77 million stake in the car brand.

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2007, according to Ford. Ford officials were not immediately available for further comment.

Ulirch Bez, who currently heads Aston Martin for Ford Motor Co., will continue in that role as its Chief Executive Officer, according to an announcement from the buyers.

"This new partnership is a tremendously exciting opportunity for Aston Martin," said Bez in the buyers' announcement. "Under the ownership of Ford we have become a successful, profitable company and I will be working with the new owners to build on this great foundation."

Aston Martin cars will continue to be made at the brand's current factory at Gaydon in Warwickshire in Britain, the new owners said.

The new owners also announced plans to make a version of the four-door Rapide concept car shown at the Detroit Auto Show.

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