2010 / 2011 Aston Martin Cygnet

Badge-engineering has a bad name in the industry for a reason. It’s essentially a cheap way to expand a brand’s portfolio, but it does not respect heritage and brand values. Think of the ridiculous Chevy TrailBlazer–based Saab 9-7X or, further back, Cadillac grafting its logo onto a Chevrolet Cavalier and selling it as the Cimarron.

Yes, It’s Real

Imagine then what the Cygnet, an awkwardly restyled version of the 117.5-inch-long Toyota iQ minicar, is going to do to the image of Aston Martin, one of the most prestigious ultra-luxury brands and self-proclaimed “world leader in exclusive niche engineering.” Believe it or not, the blobby Aston Martin Cygnet, which is only a concept for now, is set to go on sale in Europe in the first half of next year.

The Toyota iQ was launched in January 2009 as Toyota’s answer to the rear-engine Smart. (It is likely to come to America soon badged as a Scion.) Unlike the Smart, but in typical Toyota fashion, the iQ is conservatively engineered. The tiny four-seater houses its powerplant up front and rides on a platform that draws heavily from the bigger Yaris. Weight varies depending on equipment and engine, but the iQ generally tips the scales at just over a ton.

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