Aston Martin is suing two Swiss car dealers which it says withheld more than £ 10million of customer money that had been paid for its £ 2.5million Valkyrie hypercar.
The luxury car maker said on Tuesday it was filing documents with the Swiss criminal prosecutor asking it to investigate members of the board of directors of Nebula Project AG.
Aston will also take civil action against Nebula Project, which managed some customer depots for the hypercar. The automaker will get £ 15million in profits this year and set aside another undisclosed amount next year, he said in a statement.
The Valkyrie is an Aston Martin flagship, with a limited run of 150 models and another 30 for a racing version designed to spearhead the company’s push into mid-engined models.
“Aston Martin is fully committed to supporting and working with affected customers to ensure that they will always receive delivery of their Valkyrie program vehicles as scheduled,” added the automaker.
At least £ 10million of the £ 15million comes from deposits from missing customers. The remaining £ 5million comes from an accounting provision due to changes in trade agreements after the group ended the Aston Martin dealership run by the same directors in Switzerland. The company has four other dealers in the country.
The two directors of the company are Andreas Baenziger and Florian Kamelger, according to previous documents and press releases on the project.
The couple helped Aston fund the Valkyrie in 2016 by offering to fund the project and managing some deposits from Swiss customers, which were used to fund the car’s development.
In return, Nebula was to receive a commission on sales of the Valkyrie model as well as two subsequent cars based on the same technology, the Valhalla and the Vanquish.
Because it has now canceled the deal, Aston believes it will avoid paying a cut in sales to Nebula, leaving the automaker in a better long-term financial position despite financial difficulties over the next two years.
“The financial impact of not having received all of the deposited funds should be outweighed by the benefits of the termination of the Nebula deal and the associated potential royalty payments,” said Aston.
The unusual financing model came at a time when Aston was in financial difficulty and unable to invest in the vehicle, which it said will be the fastest and most expensive road car ever made.
While the down payments made to Nebula by buyers of the hypercar were passed to Aston, Nebula administrators also collected other payments from some customers, which they did not pass on to the automaker, according to the allegations. court.
A number of Aston customers have joined in the case, which was first reported by the Financial Times overnight. The automaker says it will honor the sales agreements. Deliveries of the car are expected to start in September and end next year.
The episode is an embarrassment for the company as it seeks to regain investor confidence under the new leadership of Lawrence Stroll.
The Canadian billionaire led a £ 540million bailout last year and is now its president, pushing back its electric cars and focusing on Valkyrie-based mid-engined supercars to poach Ferrari customers.
Sales of the Valkyrie were scheduled to begin in 2020, but were delayed until the end of this year after the pandemic affected product testing.
Valhalla supercar, based on Valkyrie, will also appear in upcoming James Bond film No time to die.
The directors of Nebula have been contacted for comment.