AUTOS: First a Deal, Then a Dent

First a Deal, Then a Dent

For Ford, the experience was akin to buying a new car and then suffering a serious dent only a few days later. The No. 2 U.S. automaker began last week by announcing plans to acquire a 75% stake (price: more than $30 million) in Aston Martin Lagonda, the manufacturer of hand-assembled sports cars that carry an average price tag of $130,000. While the British car company has sputtered financially, its products have long enjoyed a sterling reputation. Queen Elizabeth II gave an Aston Martin to Prince Charles for his 21st birthday, and James Bond has driven the cars in the films...