March 7th, 2010

Aston Martin’s ugly duckling

It has been nearly a week since the Geneva motor show, so it has given us enough time to sleep on our thoughts of the new Aston Martin Cygnet. When we first heard about the Cygnet we thought it was quite a cool idea. But now the swanky city car is starting to getting our tits because we now know more about it and it could be the sword which makes the British brand commit Harakiri.

When the news broke last summer that Aston wanted to rebadge and glam up a Toyota iQ, we thought that Ulrich Bez had been on a crazy acid binge or eaten one to many disco biscuits. But then we saw some pictures and realised he was deadly serious.  Initially we thought Dr. Bez was being sensible by not giving into next generation powertrains and instead offsetting his big V12 CO2 emmissions by offering a tiny car, to bring down their CO2 average. We  initially thought it looked quite good too. Sporting some  Aston trademarks with its big grille and acres of leather on the inside. We thought the Cygnet was only a little trinket for people who carry dogs in handbags, so they can match their DB9 with a city car for some twenty grand extra.

But last week at the Geneva motor show we got to learn a lot more about Aston’s little Cygnet. First of all they dropped the bomb that it could cost up to fifty thousand pounds. No, your eyes are not deciving you, fifty thousand pounds for a Toyota iQ which has been dressed up with some Jimmy Choo’s. Then we saw some of the paint schemes for the car, they ranged from Gulf livery to Camo coloured. A Camo coloured Aston Martin? What has the world come to? Maybe Dr. Bez was on disco biscuits all along!

So is the Cygnet making Aston commit automotive suicide? If the Cygnet keeps the floodgate open to allow for great cars such as the DBS and One-77, that is no bad thing. But if this is a marketing tactic to takehold of the new age of consumerism and to fill a market where people will buy anything as long as it has a pretty label on it, they may as well start digging their own grave now. Aston Martin plan to sell two thousand Cygent’s a year, and I wish them the best of luck. If they do manage to hit that figure, it proves that some people have more money than sense - especially if they buy them in Camo.