FRANKFURT (Bloomberg) -- Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler AG is in early talks with Aston Martin on supply and technical-cooperation agreements.
Aston is seeking an industrial partner to reduce spending on developing fresh product. The UK sports-car maker is the only global luxury-auto brand that doesn't belong to a larger manufacturing group, hampering its efforts to match competitors' lower costs for creating models.
"While both sides know and respect each other very much, no decisions have been made," said Silke Walters, a Daimler spokeswoman. Discussions also involve Aston Martin owners Investindustrial Advisers and Investment Dar, Walters said.
Daimler is Investindustrial's preferred partner for a supply deal, a person familiar with the matter said. A final agreement isn't imminent, the person said, asking not to be identified because the talks are private.
Janette Green, an Aston Martin spokeswoman, didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.
Backed by new investor Investindustrial, Aston Martin laid out plans in January to invest 500 million pounds ($777 million) over the next four years to compete with Bentley, Ferrari and Maserati.
The automaker, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, said in January that it was seeking a partner to develop high-end engines to strengthen its sports-car lineup.
Aston Martin was holding discussions with Daimler and other manufacturers and was planning on reaching an agreement in the following two months, Investindustrial Chairman Andrea Bonomi said at the time.
Investindustrial, a European private-equity fund, agreed in December to acquire a 37.5 percent holding in Aston Martin for 190 million euros ($250 million) in a capital increase.
The fund has a track record of turning around high-end vehicle manufacturers such as Italian motorcycle maker Ducati and plans to remain an Aston Martin shareholder for at least 10 years, Bonomi said.
Investment Dar, a Kuwaiti sovereign-wealth fund, has been the main owner of Aston Martin since taking part with a group of investors in acquisition of the brand from Ford Motor Co. in 2007 for 503 million pounds.