It’s a shame Aston Martin’s brave announcement that it intends to put the new Cygnet (the Astonised Toyota iQ city car) into production next year should need to be accompanied by quite so much painful “explanation of the concept” by chairman Ulrich Bez and chief designer Marek Reichman. A straightforward press announcement is accompanied by several minutes of awkward video during which the pair state the obvious: that owners of big cars find it useful also to own small ones for congested driving conditions; that the owners of luxurious big cars usually prefer their small car to be luxurious, too.
These logical observations are pretty much smothered by talk about heritage and brand values, all of which pretty much spells out the fact that the pair are anxious about how the idea will be received in public. The concern must be that their considerable Cygnet investment is at risk. I’d have much preferred it if this usually optimistic pair had sold the idea with gung-ho confidence. Bez is always having radical ideas: how’s about this for another one? Reichman has lots of form as a master designer: doesn’t this micro-Aston look great?
In any case, as was pointed out to us at the project’s outset, there are watches in Aston’s special equipment brochure with prices not far short of the Cygnet’s…
So why the caution? I reckon it stems, partly at least, from the regrettable modern attitudes of us punters. In blogs and on forums, we’re more willing to scorn than praise – even when we have nothing much to go on.
The Cygnet will be good and intriguing drive, the iQ tells us that much. And Reichman’s men have spared no effort to make the little Aston look great and pack it with luxury.
Personally, I can truly see Aston buyers in America and the Middle East buying a Cygnet as an adjunct to their DBS or Rapide and not caring about the price because they don’t have to. Whether I’d buy one myself (no) doesn’t matter. So let’s welcome the Cygnet. If successful it’ll be one of the most imaginative additions in years to the world of cars. And while we’re at it, let’s reserve some of the same open-mindedness for Lotus.
Dany Bahar’s amazing plan may seem to stretch both his company and the market’s demand for sports cars to improbable levels, but none of us knows it can’t work. On the other hand if it does – and it might – it’ll be one of the industrial triumphs of our age.