Aston Martin Chairman Ulrich Bez wants to have Ford's British supercar maker ready for an initial offering on the stock market by 2005.
That doesn't mean it will happen, Bez quickly added.
'I want to make sure the company is in the right shape so the option is available to our owner Ford Motor Co.,' he said. 'It will mean we will have achieved the objectives we set ourselves.'
Bez added: 'I think the company could perform well [on the stock market]. With Aston there is substance to the company. We are not a dot.com business with no heritage.'
Bez uses Ferrari as a business model for Aston Martin. Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo has lately talked of taking part of Fiat-controlled Ferrari public.
Ferrari struggled under Fiat ownership in the early 1990s, Bez said.
'Then Fiat installed a man [di Montezemolo] at the top of Ferrari and left them alone to focus on producing great cars and winning races - Fiat was there in the background only when needed,' he said.
This is Bez's vision for Aston Martin as he launches a three-part growth plan - capacity, volume and dealers - to vastly increase the automaker's size by 2005.
He plans to boost production from just 850 cars a year in 1999 to 5,000. Key is an all-new 'baby' Aston Martin, the AM305. The new car will give the automaker a three-model lineup with the DB7 - 'which will evolve very much like the Porsche 911' - and the Vanquish.
Aston Martin will also make sweeping changes in its English production sites and its worldwide dealer network.
Bez sees the number of global dealerships increasing from 65 to 144 by the end of 2003. He hopes to have 110 by the end of this year.
'We have identified the areas where we need dealers and in many cases we have also identified our partners,' he said. Sites include principal cities in Europe and the USA, and more presence in the Middle and Far East.
Aston Martin sales are focused on the UK and North America.
'I would like to see 30 percent of sales in the UK, 30 percent other European markets, 30 percent USA and 20 percent rest of the world,' he said. 'I know that adds up to 110 percent but that's where I would like our order book to be.'
Existing and new dealers will be largely paired with other Premier Automotive Group brands Volvo, Jaguar and Land Rover. But Bez did not rule out partnerships with other marques and he is particularly keen on small, family owned businesses.
'I don't want to be with dealers who change their managers every couple of years,' he said. 'I want people who feel passionately about the brand, who will treat the dealership like their own home.'
The latest recruits are husband and wife team Alain and Astrid Aziza. They will open a new, exclusively Aston Martin outlet on the prestigious Rue de la President Roosevelt in Paris June 1.
'It is a superb location, amid the clothes shops such as Gucci and Versace,' Bez said. 'This is where we need our showrooms. In Italy, for
example, we have dealers in Milan and Bologna but not Rome, and in Austria we have no dealers at all.'
Dealers need to invest E200,000 to make Aston Martin showrooms fit the new image.
'We are no longer going to be content with being pushed into a corner of a dealership,' said public affairs director Tim Watson. 'Dealers will have to have entirely separate areas with their own entry point, with dedicated staff and dedicated service areas and technicians.'
The first site makeover was in Denver, Colorado, USA, earlier this year. Paris is next. In return for the investment Bez promised dealers more cars and bigger profits.
'It will be a better business for our dealers than it has been in the past,' he said.
Aston Martin is currently building a new plant at Gaydon in the English midlands to produce the AM305. Existing plants at nearby Newport Pagnell and Bloxham will continue to produce the Vanquish and DB7 respectively.
'In the long term we have to see how we can better use our facilities,' Bez said. 'The problem at Newport Pagnell and Bloxham is that we have run out of space.'
Despite the recent departures of the Premier Automotive Group architects, Ford CEO Jac Nasser and Premier CEO Wolfgang Reitzle, Bez said he had the full backing of new Ford Chairman Bill Ford and Chief Operating Officer Nick Scheele.
Bez said: 'Our strategy and vision is already developed. It is our own strategy and vision. There is nothing patchwork about it - it is clear and transparent and fully supported by Ford Motor Co.'.