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Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings Plc said it’s suing a company affiliated with one of its dealers in Switzerland, alleging that it withheld customer deposits collected for the 2.5 million-pound (US$3.5 million) Valkyrie hypercar.
The carmaker accused Nebula Project AG of failing to pass some deposits taken from customers along to Aston Martin and said that it has terminated an unconventional commercial arrangement its previous management team entered in 2016. Under the now-dissolved deal, Nebula had agreed to fund development of the Valkyrie and other mid-engine cars in exchange for royalty payments.
As a result of terminating the agreement with Nebula, Aston Martin is no longer liable for any potential royalty payments, which could have been “significant” over time, the carmaker said in a statement Tuesday. The company also cut off its dealer arrangements with AF Cars AG, the company that operates Aston Martin St. Gallen in Switzerland, whose board members manage Nebula.
While Aston Martin expects the net impact of its actions against Nebula to be positive over time, it’s expected to reduce cash flow and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization by up to 15 million pounds this year.
Valkyrie customers will still receive their cars as scheduled, Aston Martin said, despite the company not having received all the deposited funds. The carmaker said it will take deposits for special vehicles directly from customers going forward instead of through dealers.
Aston Martin racked up significant losses after going public in 2018 and has spent the last year restructuring itself after a rescue by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll, who took over as chairman last year. The 61-year-old fashion mogul has injected much-needed cash and forged closer ties with Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz to ensure the company survives tumultuous times for the auto industry.