As Bentley’s chief designer Stefan Sielaff told Autocar, the new sociological trend is of people being – and acting – ‘forever young’. Such people would rather have a bespoke classic plaything, perhaps, than invest £250,000 or more in a traditional super-luxury new vehicle.
Clearly, the Lagonda concept proposal fits all of these potential trends like a glove. Reichman even claimed at the Geneva show that “Lagonda has always been a disruptor. It has a massive heritage of going toe to toe with Rolls-Royce and Bentley. It has always offered a different shape and form.”
Aston, however, remains a minnow, and it has plenty on its plate. But the noisy arrival of the Lagonda is a bet on disruption in the ultra-luxury market, taking the Tesla formula and moving it forward significantly.The list of disruptive possibilities is long. A new generation of ultra- high-net-worth people who are younger in outlook and influenced by their millennial children and grandchildren, a shift against leather and petrol-chemical-based plastics allied to a greater interest in sustainable natural materials and a much-reduced energy footprint in the construction of the vehicle.
Ultra-luxury with a much lighter environmental impact and even a desire for a more radical interior architecture is a distinct possibility. But it’s a hell of bet for a company the size of Aston Martin.
Rolls-Royce: the future is custom, not disruption:
“After some years in this business, and after talking to many, many customers, I know how fundamentally important it is today to have something very different from the ordinary,” says Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös.
“It’s not about bling, or price positioning. It’s about our cars being very special, including under the skin. There is no other way for us than to take a different route from the rest.
“One huge advantage of our new, highly flexible production system is that bespoke cars can be completed on the line. We don’t have to build a car to take it apart again. This helps quality enormously, and makes the process far more efficient.