Aston Martin’s 2027/28 Goals & A Knighthood for Stroll?

It’s been a very busy week at Aston Martin Lagonda (AML).  On Monday, June 26, 2023, AML first announced a change to their long-term strategic co-operation with Mercedes-Benz, then announced a new Strategic Supply Co-operation Agreement (SCA) to create industry-leading ultra- luxury high performance electric vehicles with Lucid.  Just to top it all off Executive Chairman, Lawrence Stroll, declared “he should be knighted for his efforts at saving thousands of jobs at Aston Martin Lagonda & investing hundreds of millions into Formula 1 through the Aston Martin Racing Team”.  Stroll then admitted to having been both angered and motivated by the negative press reaction to previous Aston developments under his watch.


On Tuesday, June 27th this was followed by AML’s 2023 Capital Markets Day where new mid-term financial targets for 2027/2028 were put forward, including:


– Revenue of c. £2.5 billion

– Gross margin in the mid 40s%

– Adjusted EBITDA of c. £800 million

– Adjusted EBITDA margin of c. 30%

– Free cash flow to be sustainably positive – Net leverage ratio of c. 1.0x


In addition, AML stated that they “expect to invest c. £2 billion over the next five years (2023-2027) in long-term growth and the transition to electrification. This will be comprised of c.£1.8 billion of capital expenditures and c. £200 million in technology access fees to the Company’s strategic suppliers and partners over the next five years, including the payments related to its proposed strategic supply agreement with Lucid Group, Inc.”


This is all a lot to unpack. 

Mercedes-Benz Strategic Co-operation Agreement (SCA)

A revision to the Mercedes SCA has long been signaled.  Under the original agreement, AML was to have issued Mercedes shares as follows:


  • Aston Martin expects to issue the first tranche of Consideration Shares to Mercedes-Benz AG with a value equivalent to £140 million by no later than 31 December 2020, subject to fulfilment of regulatory and other conditions.


  • No later than by early 2022, Aston Martin expects to issue further Consideration Shares to Mercedes-Benz AG, reflecting the value of the second technology basket received at that time, which will be mainly focused on battery electric vehicle technology.


  • Aston Martin may continue to receive access to additional technology throughout 2022, in return for issuing additional Consideration Shares to Mercedes-Benz AG, until the total value of all Consideration Shares issued reaches £286 million.


  • If the ordinary share trading price on the date any further Consideration Shares (beyond the first issue) are issued is below the Mercedes-Benz AG Entry Price, Aston Martin will be required to compensate Mercedes-Benz AG for the difference between the two prices by making a further cash payment (on a per share basis).


  • All Consideration Shares are expected to have been issued by no later than early 2023.


Only the first point seems to have happened with the rest being first pushed back and now cancelled.  Rumors would indicate that the relationship between Mercedes-Benz and both the Aston Martin Lagonda & the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One™ Team (AMF1) have been going south for quite some time.  Further evidence of this is AMF1 will not be using Mercedes power past the 2025 season.  It has always felt like Mercedes got involved with Aston Martin on a kind of “rent before you buy” trial.  After all the drama over the last several years, Mercedes has clearly indicated at this point that they have no interest in owning AML and would far prefer to simply become a paid supplier.  Had they wanted to own AML, they certainly have the financial ability to have done so at any point.  In the announcement, Franz Reiner, Non-Executive Director and Mercedes-Benz AG Board of Director Representative, said: “As a long-term shareholder, Mercedes-Benz supports Aston Martin’s future development as an independent luxury carmaker.  Put in layman’s terms, “we are splitting up (consciously uncoupling) but promise to remain friends.”


From AML’s point of view, the major benefit as summarized in the Capital Markets Day 2023 release is:


  • As a consequence of the amendment and restatement of the SCA, no further consideration shares, or related cash top up payments, will be issued or paid to Mercedes-Benz.


This basically gets AML off the hook for a major upcoming financial liability that they could ill afford.


New Strategic Supply Agreement with Lucid Group

Since the Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) invested in AML, some sort of supply agreement for EV tech from Lucid, which just happens to be majority owned and controlled by PIF, seemed inevitable.  Under the terms of the agreement:


  • AML to issue 28,352,273 new ordinary shares in its share capital to Lucid (the “Consideration Shares”), equivalent to approximately $100m (£79m) in value, which will see Lucid become a c.3.7% shareholder in Aston Martin
  • Lucid has agreed not to dispose of the Consideration Shares for a period of 365 days from the date of their allotment.
  • AML to make certain phased cash payments to Lucid in the aggregate amount of $132m (£104m), with an initial amount of $33m (£26m) payable on the date of admission of the Consideration Shares and subsequent amounts payable in multiple stages on certain future dates in 2025 and 2026
  • AML commits to an effective minimum spend with Lucid on powertrain components of $225m (£177m)
  • AML to pay Lucid an additional $10m (£8m) integration fee.


Back in Q3 2022, PIF invested an estimated £174 million in AML.  Between the value of the shares that AML is issuing and the £104 million in cash payments, that AML will be giving to PIF controlled Lucid, PIF will be getting a very large amount of their initial AML investment back.  To top it off, even after this PIF will still have a 18% shareholding in AML.  Just to make things even a bit more interesting, Stroll’s privately owned AMF1 Team, counts the Saudi state oil company Amamco as its “Strategic Partner” and Saudi Airlines as a “Global Partner”.  What these two are paying at AMF1 in sponsorship fees is unknown but rumored to be at least $30-40 million.  The level of incest between all these related parties would make the old Habsburg Dynasty proud.


In many ways Lucid is the perfect partner for AML.  Lucid missed their Q1 2023 numbers badly and burned through over $800 mil. in cash.  Its stock price is also down 75% in the past year.  Tying AML closer to PIF/Lucid also makes a lot of strategic sense for Stroll as it creates a second possible buyer to Geely now that Mercedes-Benz is clearly not interested.

Sir Lawrence of Gaydon?

On Monday, Stroll declared he should be knighted for his efforts at “saving thousands of jobs at Aston Martin Lagonda” & “investing hundreds of millions into Formula 1 through the Aston Martin Racing Team”.  I don’t believe this was a throw away comment by any means.  I think Stroll truly believes it and is probably pushing his PR team to land him the highly converted honor.  Knighthoods are normally awarded for:


  • significant achievements in public life
  • individuals who have committed themselves to serving and helping Britain.


and it really not something you publicly lobby for.


Examining Stroll’s thesis’ for a knighthood: First saving thousands of jobs at Aston Martin Lagonda. In 2019, AMLs headcount was 2,565 and in 2022 it was 2,537.  You could make a case that Stroll saved these jobs as his leadership and investment prevented AML from going into bankruptcy and then liquidation.  However, AML has already been bankrupt 7 times in its history and an 8th would have been highly unlikely to lead to liquidation and the elimination of “thousand of jobs”.  Best case you might be able to make a case that Stroll’s investment saved a couple of hundred jobs.  When you only have 2.5k jobs to start, haven’t created any new ones, it’s pretty hard to build a case that you have saved “thousands”.  Second: “investing hundreds of millions into Formula 1 through the Aston Martin Racing Team”.  Basically, here Stroll is saying he should be recognized for pouring hundreds of millions into his privately owned race team which he purchased so his son Lance would have a seat on the F1 grid.  In addition, Formula 1 is owned by Liberty Media, a publicly listed US company.  Net net, the F1 investment is first for the Stroll Family’s benefit and a secondly for a US corporation.  If making investments in public US companies qualifies one for a knighthood, there are an awful lot of us who would qualify.


In addition, his thesis on buying the Aston Martin Racing Team, with the objective of making his son Lance World Champion, is ironically looking a lot shakier today despite the AMF1 team having its best season to date.  AMF1’s signing of Fernando Alonso to fill AMF1’s second seat this season has exposed the gap between Lance’s abilities and those of a F1 Champion.  In the 8 F1 races so far this season, Lance has finished 6.  In those 6, Lance finished ahead of Fernando once, and that only happened after Fernando agreed not to pass Lance in the final stages of the race.  In the five other races, the average gap between the two has been 5 places at the flag.  Fernando has finished on the podium 6 times so far and Lance 0.  I have heard some rumblings from the paddock that while AMF1 certainly does have a good competitive car this year, that Fernando is probably pulling it forward 2-3 places every race and Lance is worth just the opposite.  With Lance being exposed like this, if it continues, it will only be a matter of time before AMF1’s sponsors start putting pressure on the team to put a more competitive driver in the 2nd car to partner Alonso.  As Donald Jr. has found out, nepotism can only get you so far.  At this point I would put Lance’s chances of winning an F1 Championship about on par with Harry’s becoming King.

Anger at Negative Press

In his comments on Monday, Stroll admitted to having been both angered and motivated by negative press reaction to previous Aston developments under his watch.  I was quite shocked that he even mentioned this given some of the recent highly flattering press he has gotten.  The Autocar Business editor recently penned a piece on Stroll which read more like a Girls’ Life Review of One Direction & Harry Styles than a balanced objective piece of journalism.  In fact, I have seen less gooey profiles of Kim Jung Un coming out of Korean Central News Agency.  EVO Magazine also just published a very complementary piece on AML.  Other than one very minor modest obscure blog that I doubt he even knows exists, I’m not sure who else might have written anything that could have annoyed him.


Capital Markets Day

In the Capital Markets Day release Executive Chairman Lawrence Stroll declared: 

“I am extremely proud of the major industrial turnaround we have completed in the last three years, which has completely rebuilt this iconic company. We are building an ultra-luxury brand, supercharged by our transformational partnership with the F1 team and with our portfolio of highly desirable and performance-driven cars.


“We have updated our EV strategy, working with world-class suppliers to complement our extraordinary in-house engineering and design teams. In addition, we are now driving new levels of operational excellence to support our growth and deliver on our targets which focus on increasing value for each car we sell, aligned with the characteristics of a true ultra-luxury company. With the heavy lifting now behind us, I have never been as confident in our future.”


In summary, Stroll is declaring that the turnaround of AML is complete, it’s been driven by the £24 million annual sponsorship fee AML is paying to Stroll’s privately owned racing team, and that they now operate as a true ultra-luxury company.  Stroll demonstrated his confidence by reducing his/Yew Tree’s stake in AML from 28.4% to 21.1% last month.

Based on AMLs 2022 results (see: Stuffed Turtle) and Q1 2023 (see: Burning Turtle), there might just be a bit work left to be done.  On a very high level, AMLs share price is down about 75% vs. when Stroll arrived on the scene, in AMLs losses in 2022 more than doubled to £495 million, and despite raising £653 mil. last year, AMLs Q1 2023 financial position (Cash £407 mil. & Net Debt £868 mil.) is very similar to where it was in Q1 2022 (Cash £404 mil. & Net Debt £957 mil.).  On the topic of true ultra-luxury company, AML did admit in Q4 2022 that they had “temporarily suspended” their demand-led operating model and total wholesale volumes were ahead of retail volumes.  These extra unit shipped were supposed to have been sold through in Q1 2023.  Based on two recent visits to Aston Martin dealerships, that would not appear to be the case as both were awash in inventory.  As reference I also visited the nearby Ferrari dealerships in each of the two cities and like a true ultra-luxury company, neither had a single new car for sale in the dealership. 

Given where AML is today, how realistic are the new 2027/28 goals of:

–           Revenue of c. £2.5 billion

–           Gross margin in the mid 40s%

–           Adjusted EBITDA of c. £800 million

–           Adjusted EBITDA margin of c. 30%

–           Free cash flow to be sustainably positive

–           Net leverage ratio of c. 1.0x

As a reference, the original 2024/25 goals were:

  • 10,000 wholesales
  • £2bn revenue
  • £500m adjusted EBITDA

and in 2022 AML delivered:

Cars Wholesaled



£1.38 bil.

Adjusted EBITDA

£190 mil.



Starting first with the original 2024/2025 goals, I don’t see how AML is going to get to £2bn of revenue by 2024/2025.  Revenue in 2022 is £1.38 billion which already includes roughly £220 million from the Valkyrie.  AML likely has two more years (2023 & 2024) of similar Valkyrie revenue before that drops off significantly.  Assuming they ever get the Valhalla built and out the door, that should deliver roughly £300 million in revenue for about 3 years starting in 2025.  All in, this still leaves a gap in 2025 of £500 million in additional revenue that AML will have to coax out of other specials and base business growth.  That’s almost 50% growth over what the base business is delivering today and it’s a bit of a stretch to believe a number of facelifts off existing models will do so.  I think there is a better chance of the Boris Johnson returning as British Prime Minister than AML hitting £2bn of revenue in 2024/25.  On the 2024/25 cars wholesaled number, AML has already admitted that they will not hit it so it’s no surprise that the longer term 2027/28 goals no longer include a unit sales goal.  Regarding EBITDA margin, AML has never delivered against an EBITDA Margin growth target, and I see no reason why that will change in the future.

Given how AML is tracking to the midterm 2024/25 goals, the 2027/28 goals do look a bit on the ambitious side.  Simplistically the 2027/28 goals have AML almost doubling revenue (CAGR 12.6%) and quadrupling EBITDA margin in 5 years.  Based on the information AML has provided so far, it’s very hard to get a feel on if they have even a long shot at making it.  The goals imply a heavy dependency on “specials” (see McLaren circa 2020 for how this turns out), plus likely several additional capital raises to reduce leverage and cut financial costs to deliver the Free Cash Flow target.  To get anywhere near these goals, AML is going to have to deliver a full pipeline of new models that are well received in the marketplace.  Right now, that pipeline consists of a very delayed Valhalla, more facelifts of the existing GT/Sportscar range, and an EV coupe in 2025.  There is a lot of heavy lifting yet to do.


If past performance is a good indicator of future, then AML still has a long road ahead.  Given AML is not likely to deliver against key 2024/25 goaIs, it doesn’t give me a high level of confidence in the new 2027/28 numbers. The change from Mercedes to Lucid for EV technology has as much to do with one investor (Mercedes-Benz) looking to exit and Stroll doing a “solid” for his friends in Riyadh.  As for Stroll’s knighthood, well, we can all dream.

Note: I do not and have never owned any AML shares.

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June 2023


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18 Thoughts on Aston Martin’s 2027/28 Goals & A Knighthood for Stroll?
    Jay D Felter
    30 Jun 2023

    Does this mean that the fantastic, game changing announcement 15 months ago is no longer “valid”:

    07 March 2022 – Gaydon, UK: Aston Martin has moved another step forward in its journey to electrification, with an agreement to develop bespoke high performance battery cell technology alongside Britishvolt.

    The collaboration, formalised in a Memorandum of Understanding, further supports the ultra-luxury manufacturer’s plans to launch its first battery electric vehicle in 2025, with Aston Martin targeting new standards of repeatable on-track performance, charging time and range, as it brings its renown for engineering mastery, beautiful design and extreme personalisation to all-electric driving.

    The collaboration with Britishvolt, the UK’s foremost investor in lithium-ion battery cell technologies, brings together two innovative leaders in UK engineering to create the next generation of cell and battery technology designed specifically for high performance cars.

    A joint research and development team from Aston Martin and Britishvolt will design, develop, and industrialise battery packs, including bespoke modules and a battery management system. The two organisations will work together to maximise the capability of special cylindrical high performance cells being developed by Britishvolt for use in high performance Aston Martin electric vehicles.

    Aston Martin is developing alternatives to the internal combustion engine. Continuing its electrification roadmap, Aston Martin’s first plug-in hybrid – the mid-engine supercar Valhalla – will commence deliveries in early 2024. By 2026, all new Aston Martin product lines will have an electrified powertrain option, with a target for its core portfolio to be fully electrified by 2030.
    The collaboration with Britishvolt is complementary to Aston Martin’s strategic technology agreement with Mercedes-Benz AG. Any investment will be funded by existing capital expenditure commitments to developing electric vehicles.”

    or is it now being “rebranded” with Lucid? A great name for the company – “Lucid: expressed clearly, easy to understand. Showing ability to think clearly, especially in the intervals between periods of confusion or insanity.”

    Check on the historic record of Aston Martin in Grand Prix racing from the 50’s to today.

    Bring on that Knighthood!

    30 Jun 2023

    Under “Knighthoods are normally awarded for”, you missed one – donations to political parties. A few hundred £Ks should get him a K, or he could go one better and for a £mil or two he can have a seat in the House of Lords!

    30 Jun 2023

    “Stroll demonstrated his confidence by reducing his/Yew Tree’s stake in AML from 28.4% to 21.1% last month”

    The most important sentence in your excellent piece! One doesn’t sell shares in something that is bound to increase.
    I see a cash call coming soon, Autumn sounds about right to me, be interesting to see cash levels in H1 report.
    My forecast is a SP 10% above £3.35 so any cash raise takes us back to PIF/Geely investment area, or slightly above.

    Keep up the good work.
    What are the odds on ‘original Jon’ slagging off Reichman before the day is out? 😉

    30 Jun 2023

    Thanks for the continued analysis of AM their performance and predictions.
    In regards to Mr Stroll looking for a knighthood , you should be aware this ‘award’ is much diminished in recent years . Witness Ledbedev, Norris , Rees Mogg et al.
    in fact to receive an honour is to put it politily a joke , and unlilely to get you the corner table in the Dorchester restaurant any more.
    I hope the recent tie ups with both Honda [F1] ,Geely and Lucid by the new exec team will bring some sensible tech led and quality improvements . [ so when a prospective buyer eters their new worldwide prestige showrooms in NY, London etc they are impressed with the engineering and not the set of suit cases on offer]
    In regards to F1 , they have invested a huge amount in their new HQ which will hopefull add further to the team’s success.
    I just wish I could stop the aching pain I feel when AM seem to continually follow the Dream , BS, and Miss strategy .
    Still hoping they survive.

    Steve Hewett
    30 Jun 2023

    Gawd help us.

    Things are going so well, he has reduced his shareholding, that to me says he is offloading stock because the company is in trouble.

    Mercedes walking away is not good either.

    Their new cars are frankly awful, none like an Aston should look.

    I really hope they do achieve his goals but they are not feasible.

    Stroll is on a planet all of his own making.

    As regards a Knighthood my understanding is that you have to be a British Citizen. He could of course apply for British Citizenship .

    30 Jun 2023

    About Stroll selling shares: how much did he actually make with that sell? I mean looking back at what he had to put in etc.

    30 Jun 2023

    thks, great as usual, agreed that Lucid is perhaps is perhaps the best EV partner, as they are currently losing $3-4bn a year with no end in sight, they might not be around when the time comes

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    1 Jul 2023

    I can count on two things on an AML Karenable blog: if AML is struggling you will highlight the negative, and if AML has made any improvements, you will highlight the negative.

    John (The original).
    2 Jul 2023

    Been out of comms this week with matters more serious to me than worrying about Stroll becoming a millionaire through his own incompetence.

    He’s asking for a Knighthood for all the effort he’s had to put in, but it would have been far easier to have sacked Marek Reichman on day one of his ownership. Now he’d be looking at those 2025 targets not with hope and glee, but with a realistic chance of achieving them.

    That’s the honest reality of that situation.

    Instead he’s opening boutiques for the vain in city addresses Aston can’t afford. Trying to convince people of the “brand value” like he did with MK on cheap Chinese handbags. Sticking the prices up but not increasing the material value of his products, something Subaru UK did and now you hardly ever see a new Subaru here any longer. (Subaru UK also refused to import their best sellers – madness.)

    Mercedes clearly want out, and it’s their drive-train that’s going into the Valhalla. Mercedes seem a good company, they came to aid Aston when asked, and even looking back they did the same for Ross Brawn in F1. I can’t fault them. Obviously, when it comes to EV, they’ve decided enough is enough. Might be because Geely are looking, and might be because of PIF. Too many EV competitors wanting a cheap look at future tech from Mercedes. Again, I can’t fault Mercedes for walking away.

    As for the F1 team, they’re doing better because they took last year’s development budget and put it towards this year’s car. They left Vettel with a slower car so that they could offer Alonso a quicker one. I’d say the performance difference to Stroll Jnr is more to do with this year’s car being quicker and therefore beyond his abilities than a genuine comparison between drivers.

    C Marshall
    2 Jul 2023

    I really enjoy your articles and been reading them since your early EVO ramblings, they are well researched and genuinely insightful.

    However I do feel like you have a personal vendetta against LS, we all surely want Aston to succeed.

    On the back of your recent blogs I thought Aston was undervalued and I bought some shares and made 20% and then sold them 😂


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