Whoopty bloody doo!
Aston Martin is British again
Consortium led by Dave Richards buys Aston Martin from Ford
By Peter Woodman and Katie Dawson, PA
Aston Martin has passed back into British hands again.
American owner Ford said on Monday the Warwickshire-based luxury car maker was being sold to a consortium led by motorsport chief Dave Richards.
Aston Martin, whose cars have featured in a number of Bond movies including the latest 007 film Casino Royale, has been wholly owned by Ford since 1994.
Dating back to 1914, the company has produced such vehicles as the DB5, the Vantage and the Virage and has always been seen as the stylish, quintessential British sports car firm.
Current Aston Martin boss Ulrich Bez, who has presided over a huge leap in company sales in recent years, will be chief executive, while Mr Richards will be joining the board as non-executive chairman.
Mr Richards said: "This is an incredible opportunity - Aston Martin is one of the world's most iconic brands.
"We are confident we now have all the right ingredients to take Aston Martin to even greater heights."
Mr Bez said: "This new partnership is a tremendously exciting opportunity for Aston Martin.
"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.
"It is a new beginning which will give the company the opportunity to attain an even higher level of excellence.
"This next stage in the company's history promises to be the most exciting yet. David Richards and I have a great deal of mutual respect for each other and we are equally passionate about realising the brand's full potential."
The consortium also includes John Sinders, a banker in finance and shipping from Houston in Texas and Dubai in the Middle East. He is an Aston Martin owner with a great affection for the brand on both road and track.
The consortium is completed by two Kuwaiti companies - Investment Dar and Adeem Investment.
Aston Martin will remain at its hi-tech production facility at Gaydon in Warwickshire - a purpose-built facility where 1,800 staff are employed.
The current model line-up of the award-winning V8 Vantage, DB9, DB9 Volante and Vanquish S and V8 Vantage Roadster will soon be enhanced by the eagerly-awaited high-performance DBS model.
It was this model which was driven by the latest James Bond - Daniel Craig - in Casino Royale.
Started in 1914 by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford, Aston Martin turned out its first car in 1915.
Annual production dipped as low as just 46 cars in 1992. But the marque has enjoyed a resurgence this decade - a record 7,000 Aston Martins were sold worldwide last year and a similar number are expected to be purchased in 2007.
Aston Martin moved its headquarters from Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire to Gaydon in Warwickshire in 2003.
Production at Newport Pagnell, where the Vanquish S model is made, will cease in July although the service and restoration department will stay on there.
The first screen James Bond - Sean Connery - drove an Aston Martin DB5 in the 1964 Bond movie Goldfinger.
Versions of the car also appeared in a number of other 007 films, including Thunderball, The Living Daylights, Goldeneye and Die Another Day.
Ford has valued the deal at around £480 million and said that it would retain a £40 million investment in Aston Martin.
Ford's president and chief executive Alan Mulally said: "The sale of Aston Martin supports the key objectives of the company - to restructure, to operate profitably at lower volumes and changed model mix and to speed the development of new products.
"From Aston Martin's point of view, the sale will provide access to additional capital, which will allow Aston Martin to continue the growth it has experienced under Ford's stewardship.
"Today's announcement is good for Ford Motor Company, good for Aston Martin and good for the UK. We wish Aston Martin every possible success for the future."
From AOL News