(Amends date to March 3 from March 2)
GENEVA, March 3 (Reuters) - Aston Martin on Tuesday announced plans for a luxury crossover SUV that may draw more heavily on its partnership with Daimler, as the British sports car maker confirmed moves to raise more capital and expand into new vehicle categories.
Aston has secured about 150 million pounds ($230 million) in additional funding, Chief Executive Andy Palmer said in an interview at the Geneva car show before unveiling an electric DBX concept car prefiguring the new vehicle, expected by 2019.
Palmer said Aston’s main shareholders, private equity groups Investindustrial and Investment Dar of Kuwait, had agreed to back the capital hike and range expansion first reported by Reuters in December.
He acknowledged that the future production SUV model could use a four-wheel drive architecture from 5 percent shareholder Daimler, which is already supplying Aston with electronics and V8 engines from its AMG performance division under a 2013 deal.
“It’s not ruled out, nor is it agreed,” Palmer said, without elaborating. A Daimler spokesman declined to comment.
The cash injection, in addition to 500 million pounds already earmarked for a revamp of the core sports car lineup, will enable Aston to hit a “consistently sustainable” level of spending on new models, Palmer said.
Held back by ageing models and weak investment, the company has missed out on a global luxury car boom. Last year it delivered 4,000 cars, far short of its 7,300 record in 2007.
In a departure from its pure sports-car heritage, Aston is going ahead with four-door luxury sedans under a revived Lagonda badge as well as SUV-styled vehicles designed to increase its appeal to younger consumers, women and faster-growing markets.
“The reality is that we have to expand our customer base, we have to address the issue of our (CO2) emissions and we have to appeal to a generation of kids who have grown up with SUVs - particularly in places like China,” Palmer said.
Daimler boss Dieter Zetsche has previously indicated readiness to share SUV architecture with Aston, while dismissing speculation that the German premium carmaker may eventually increase its stake in the British brand.
The two-door crossover unveiled in Geneva is also Aston’s first all-electric and all-wheel drive vehicle, while keeping some of the sleekness of its DB9 sports-car stablemate. (Reporting by Laurence Frost; Editing by Christian Plumb)
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