My highlight of the Geneva show wasn’t a car. It wasn’t a celebrity appearance either – although I can’t tell you how gutted I am to have missed Shakira’s five minutes on the Seat stand.
It was, in fact, the 20 minutes I spent interviewing Aston Martin’s irrepressibly enthusiastic CEO Ulrich Bez – a man who, by the time I got to him, must have answered hundreds of difficult questions about his firm’s Geneva debutant, the Cygnet city car.
He remained incredibly willing to answer mine. So I asked him how Aston’s customers were reacting to the car.
“So far, the vast majority of reactions have been positive,” he said. “It’s a new, younger customer who really likes the car. I think we have 50 orders already today, just in a couple of hours.”
“For the more traditional customers,” he goes on, “those who have a classic DB4 as well as a DBS – I’d say one or two out of every ten has an objection. They write letters to me threatening that they’ll never buy an Aston Martin again if we make this car. But when I write back, invite them to pay us a visit, and explain why we need this car, almost all of them come around. Ultimately they understand that change is needed. The dinosaurs are slowly dying out.”