Aston Martin’s bailout and auto industry uncertainty

Iconic publicity still for Goldfinger with Sean Connery leaning against the Aston Martin DB5.

Aston Martin, the niche British sports car maker, this week got a bailout. But the preferred ride of the movie James Bond demonstrated just how unsettled the global auto industry is.

Aston Martin got a rescue valued at 500 million British pounds ($656 million) according to CNN.

Billionaire Lawrence Strollis leading a group that will pay 182 million pounds ($239 million) while Aston Martin will issue another 318 million pounds ($417 million).

However things turn out for Aston Martin, the U.K. company is a runt among global automakers. Meanwhile, much larger automakers with greater resources are confronting much uncertainty.

China, the world’s largest auto market, wants automakers to move away from the internal combustion engine that has powered cars and trucks since the start of the 20th century. The European Union is moving in a similar direction. The U.S. wants to ease regulations. It’s a very complicated situation for automakers.

On top of that, self-driving vehicles are supposed to be the next big thing in the auto industry. Making that practical will require billions of dollars in investment.

The global auto industry faces much uncertainty. Some familiar brand names may disappear as things shake out.

Still, there’s little argument that Aston Martin is struggling. Even automakers far larger than Aston Martin don’t really know what’s next.

Put another way, enjoy Aston Martin in No Time to Die. By the time Bond 26 comes out (whenever that is) the global auto industry may look a lot different than right now.

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