It’s hard to imagine anyone more capable of turning Aston Martin around than Moers. He helped transform AMG into the profitable powerhouse it is today, and while he himself is a bonafide car enthusiast and a brilliant engineer, he’s a no-B.S. businessman too. Yesterday, we had our first chance to speak with Moers since joining Aston Martin last August, and he gave us a full rundown of the company’s future. And better still, reason to be hopeful about the brand.
One of his first major moves at Aston was to go to his old employers at Mercedes-Benz and strengthen their relationship. Last October, the two announced that Mercedes would up its stake in Aston from 2.6 to 20 percent, making it the second largest shareholder behind Stroll. In return, Aston Martin gained greater access to Mercedes powertrain technology, and Moers subsequently canceled a new V-6 in development.
“If that engine was fully developed, when I came in here, I would not stop [its development], but the engine was not on a mature level,” Moers says. “It was a concept, that they just finished, and there was a need for another large investment to bring it to life.” Given the need to invest more in electrification in the future, Moers thought it best to drop the V-6 in favor of newer versions of AMG’s V-8.
Aston Martin’s old agreement with Mercedes only gave the English company access to technology that was a few years old, and limited ability to tune the V-8s it was being supplied. Now, Moers says, Aston Martin has more-or-less full access to the latest Mercedes technology, and the ability to make truly meaningful changes to engine calibration. The upcoming Valhalla hypercar was originally set to get the Aston-designed V-6, but Moers confirmed to R&T that it will now have the AMG 4.0-liter V-8, electrified in some capacity and tuned to provide a unique character.
“You cannot take a Black Series engine and just put it in a mid-engine car,” he says. “You have to move that engine up to a certain level of electrification. And that’s what we’re going to do now.”
A common criticism of today’s Aston Martins is that they feel a little too Mercedes, given their shared powertrains and last-gen electronics. Not ideal for a brand whose cars are significantly more expensive than their nearest Mercedes equivalents. For that reason, Moers has decided that rather than invest in engineering brand new powertrains, Aston Martin will develop its own infotainment system and focus on making its interiors feel distinct and luxurious.
“We’re in a different perceived ballpark regarding the market,” Moers says. “Aston is the more expensive, the more luxurious brand. So we have to take care about everything, which is touched by the customer.”
And now that Aston Martin has access to the coding for its AMG powertrains—something the company apparently never asked for before and instead relied on third-party engineering consultancies for workarounds—it will be better able to engineer distinct powertrain characteristics. Moers says that to him, an Aston Martin should be a great GT car first and foremost, but one that offers precise handling and old-school driver engagement when desired.
Moers has a hard job ahead of him, and many might argue that there’s no saving Aston Martin, just keeping it alive for a few more years. But it seems he’s doing all the right things here, investing in areas where it matters, and leaning on the technological powerhouse that is Mercedes-Benz. There’s good reason to be at least a little hopeful.