I’ve been hitherto unconvinced by the idea of Aston Martin’s made-over Toyota iQ, the Cygnet, but this morning the opportunity came to crawl over one on the show stand. Having done that, I’m less of a sceptic.
Firstly, whether you like what this car represents or not, you can’t argue with the commitment with which it’s been executed. The expansive variety and richness of the leathers in the car, and the quality of the stitching, is impressive.
Some of the surviving Toyota switchgear in the car betrays its original price point a little: items like the mirror adjuster and the HVAC controller look cheap next to the expensively upholstered seats and dashboard. But mostly, it’s a convincing transformation.
And that aside, my other question about the Cygnet was simply ‘who’s going to buy one?’ and, now, I’ve got an idea.
Right after Ulrich Bez finished his speech at the Aston press conference, a crowd poured onto the Aston stand and, almost to a man, everyone thronged around the new Virage and Vantage S. But a handful of teenagers - fashionable eighteen-year-olds with expensive-looking haircuts - made a beeline for the Cygnet and spent a good ten minutes sitting in it, and taking pictures of each other at the wheel.
To them, this may be the perfect Aston Martin. Only because they don’t know any better? Perhaps, but it’s evidence of a sizeable potential customer base for the car as a must-have for the wealthy, super-sweet-sixteen, MTV crowd.
And at least Aston Martin is developing a sense of humour about the car. Look in the back of the Cygnet here at the Geneva show and you’ll find a beautifully-finished, Aston-badged dog basket: it’s just large enough for one of those miniature canines carried around by Paris Hilton et al. Don’t reckon they’d sell many of those along with a One-77.