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Aston Martin Acquires Top Lotus Chassis Engineer

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On: Thu, Dec 18, 2014 at 9:35AM | By: Carl Malek


Aston Martin Acquires Top Lotus Chassis Engineer

In an interesting move that few in the industry saw coming, Aston Martin has poached an executive from Lotus and has accquired chief testing and development engineer Matt Becker in perhaps a broader bid to further hone its ambitious plans at reinventing itself.

Departing from Lotus as a 26-year veteran, Becker is largely credited with helping Lotus retain its legendary handling prowess, a task that certainly was not a walk in the park given the recent turmoil and financial uncertainty that has afflicted the tiny British sports car maker. Despite this, Becker’s valuable input helped establish the Elise as a lightweight dream machine, while also allowing the Evora to retain some of its playful nature despite the move to a bigger and heavier platform.

When he arrives at Aston Martin, Becker will not depart too far from his original corporate upbringings; he will be the head engineer responsible for vehicle dymanics, aerodynamics, NVH (noise/vibration/harshness), as well as durability. This move is the first of several high profile appointments made by new Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer who left Nissan back in September to lead the helm for the iconic British luxury car maker. As a bonus, some of the handling ability that Becker bestowed upon Lotus could perhaps find its way into future Aston Martin suspension design, which would help its models stick better to the track when pushed during spirited driving.

While Aston Martin has managed to soldier on as one of the few independent automotive brands still in the industry (albeit with some help from Daimler), it has recently embarked on an ambitious plan for enhanced growth by bringing in new leadership as well making key investments in manufacturing facilities. The marque hopes to expand its model lineup from its four current models (DB9, Vanquish, Rapide, and Vantage) giving the brand a broader segment footprint that can reach out to more types of customers. This new and exciting future will be initially previewed by the next generation DB9, with six other limited edition models being launched soon after. It is rumored that one of the six will be an SUV, which would be the company's first in its iconic history, though no solid evidence has emerged so far that suggests such a model is actually under development. However, with recent involvement in that market segment from rivals Bentley and Lamborghini, do not be too surprised if Aston decides to try to nab a slice of potential sales with an entry of its own.

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