March 11, 2007
British Brand Names Aston Martin, Jaguar, and Land Rover a Mixed Blessing For Ford
The Wall Street Journal seems to be confirming what the bloggers were predicting all last week: on Monday Ford is going to sell the Aston Martin brand name "to an investor group led by international motor-racing entrepreneur David Richards" (subscrption required), thus bringing the well loved car back into British hands.
The most famous British Aston Martin driver, of course, is James Bond, who does quite a number to his Aston Martin DBS in Casino Royale. This wasn’t his first Aston, of course: he also drove a DB5 V12 Vanquish (named "Vanish" by Q because of its invisibility) in Die Another Day and various versions of the DB5 in Thunderball, Goldfinger, Goldeneye and The World is Not Enough.
There can be no doubt that the success of Casino Royale has fueled interest in the brand name.
I think that at least half the purchase price for Aston Martin, estimated to be between $700 million to $1 billion, lies in the the mystique the Aston brand name has among Bond lovers and classic sports car aficionados alike. And the brand is indubitably British, of course. Aston’s resurgence in popularity is being felt acutely in the Middle East, where Dubai is becoming a British ex-pat hotspot, driving up interest in the Aston brand name as well as other Brit brands like River Island, NEXT, Body Shop, Bhs, Debenhams, TopShop, Oasis, Evans, Peacocks, Faith and Boots.
I consider Ford an iconic brand that will regain its footing in the US. Henry lives.
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