DETROIT – Speculation over the possible sale of Ford Motor Co.’s Aston Martin subsidiary reaches a fever pitch following a recent comment made by Lewis Booth, executive vice president-Ford of Europe and Premier Automotive Group.

Aston Martin has been developed into a confident brand and we’re convinced that will continue under new ownership,” Booth says during a recent speech at the North American International Auto Show.

Industry watchers speculate an announcement of Aston Martin’s sale could come as early as today.

Ford previously announced Aston Martin was on the chopping block, as the troubled auto maker seeks to raise capital as part of its Way Forward North American restructuring strategy. Ford has said the sale would be complete by year’s end.

“We’re going to close a deal this year; there’s been lots of interest,” Booth tells Ward's, adding Ford would like to see Aston Martin end up in competent hands.

“It’s a grounded brand, and we want to see it do good,” he says.

Booth declines to say whether a sale to a rival auto maker is a possibility.

bpope@wardsauto.com