Palmer wanted Nissan to buy AstonComment on this story
Paris - Nissan turned down proposals by senior executive Andy Palmer to invest in Aston Martin before Palmer jumped ship to lead the British sportscar maker, sources with knowledge of the matter said.
Palmer, 51, is stepping down as the second-ranked lieutenant of Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn later this month to become Aston Martin CEO, a move seen as clearing the way for more cooperation with Mercedes-Benz.
Palmer had tried in 2012 and 2013 to persuade Ghosn, who heads Nissan and alliance partner Renault, to purchase an Aston stake, three people with knowledge of the matter said this week.
“We looked carefully at the proposal but we passed on it,” one company insider said. The sources would not describe the proposal or the reasons for its rejection.
A Renault-Nissan spokeswoman declined to comment.
At Nissan, Palmer fronted growing cooperation between the luxury Infiniti brand and Daimler, which has a 4 percent stake in Aston Martin and a deal to supply engines and electronics to the British company.
“I'm sure that played a role in bringing him aboard at Aston Martin,” said London-based ISI Group analyst Arndt Ellinghorst. “I wouldn't be surprised if that relationship deepened - it only makes sense.”
Aston needs new investment to stay competitive and meet tightening regulations on emissions and safety rules.
The loss-making carmaker is one of the last major premium car brands without a large automotive group behind it.
Aston had pledged to spend 500 million pounds (8.75 billion) on new models and technologies over five years and maintains that the plan is adequately funded, thanks in part to the sale of a 37.5 percent stake to Italy's Investindustrial in May 2013.
The German carmaker's CEO Dieter Zetsche has said he was “open” to plans floated by previous Aston boss Ulrich Bez last year to build a sport utility vehicle on Mercedes architecture.
“Aston Martin continually talks with other manufacturers about potential collaborative projects,” a spokeswoman for the sportscar maker said on Thursday. “However, we never comment on these talks or industry speculation.”