The Cygnet, Aston Martin’s rebadged and retrimmed Toyota iQ, will play a key role in the firm’s future as it tries to meet emissions regs.
The EU has finally agreed a framework for future fleet average CO2 emissions targets, and the Cygnet will allow Aston to survive in its key European regions without having to re-engineer its sports car range or even drop its V12 in favour of a V8.
Insiders say the 96bhp 1.3-litre Cygnet could almost halve Aston’s fleet average thanks to its likely CO2 emissions of around 115g/km.
With Aston’s bread-and-butter DB9 and V8 Vantage rating 345g/km and 315g/km respectively, the Cygnet will make a big dent in the average.
The EU rules come into effect in 2012 and will be phased in over four years. By 2012, 65 per cent of a fleet has to comply, rising to 100 per cent by 2015.
Small-volume car makers like Aston and Bentley — with between 1000 and 10,000 European sales per year — have two choices. If they’re part of a bigger group, their fleet figure can be calculated as part of the parent. But Aston isn’t part of a big group, so it will have to go it alone.
In this case, because Aston’s production is low, the EU allows an exemption from the 130g/km target of volume car makers. Aston will have to negotiate its own targets with the EU. Experts suggest that this is likely to mean a similar percentage reduction to that of the volume car makers — currently 18 to 19 per cent — which would be a near-impossible task with the current line-up.
That’s where the Cygnet comes in. Aston is aiming for 1500 Cygnet sales in Europe per year — about the same as the number of Vantage/DB9/DBS/Rapide models it will shift.
However, if markets recover that could rise to perhaps 2500-3000 units, so as well as using the Cygnet to haul down its fleet CO2, it has to work on its current models, too.