Aston Martin is suing two Swiss car dealers who claim they withheld more than £10m of customer money paid for its £2.5m Valkyrie supercar.
The luxury car maker said, on Tuesday, that it would file a Swiss criminal prosecutor, asking him to investigate members of the board of directors of Nebula Project AG.
Aston will also file a civil lawsuit against Project Nebula, which handled some customer deposits for the supercar. It said in a statement the carmaker would make a profit of £15m this year and book an additional undisclosed amount next year.
The Valkyrie is a major Aston Martin product, with a limited edition of 150 models and an additional 30 models for the racetrack version designed to lead the company’s push toward mid-engine models.
“Aston Martin is fully committed to supporting affected customers and working with them to ensure they continue to receive Valkyrie vehicles as scheduled,” the automaker added.
At least £10m out of £15m of lost customer deposits. The remaining £5 million is from accounting provisions due to changes in business arrangements after the group terminated an Aston Martin dealership run by the same managers in Switzerland. The company has four other agents in the country.
The two directors of the company are Andreas Beinziger and Florian Kamelger, according to previous files and press releases about the project.
The Aston couple helped finance the Valkyrie in 2016 by offering a project guarantee and handling some Swiss customer deposits, which were used to fund the car’s development.
In return, the Nebula was to collect a commission from sales of the Valkyrie model as well as two subsequent cars based on the same technology, the Valhalla and the Vanquish.
Since it has now canceled the deal, Aston believes it will avoid having to pay a portion of sales to Nebula, leaving the automaker in a better financial position in the long run even though finances have been hit over the next two years.
“The financial impact of not receiving all deposited funds is expected to be outweighed by the benefit of the termination of the Nebula Agreement and the potential royalty payments associated with it,” Aston said.
The unusual financing model was put in place at a time when Aston was struggling financially and unable to invest in the car, which it claims will be the fastest and most expensive road car ever.
While deposits paid to Nebula by buyers of the supercar were transferred to Aston, Nebula managers also collected other payments from some customers, which were not transferred to the automaker, as alleged in court filings.
A number of Aston customers joined the legal case, which the Financial Times reported overnight. The automaker says it will honor the sales agreements. Deliveries of the car are expected to begin in September and continue into next year.
This episode is an embarrassment for the company as it seeks to restore investor confidence under the new management of Lawrence Stroll.
Canadian billionaire Led a £540m bailout last year Now he’s her chair, pushing her electric cars back and focusing on mid-engine supercars based on Valkyrie to hunt Ferrari customers.
Sales of the Valkyrie were expected to start in 2020, but were pushed back until late this year after product testing affected the pandemic.
The Valhalla supercar, based on the Valkyrie, will also appear in the upcoming James Bond movie No time to die.
Nebula administrators have been contacted for comment.