Aston Martin won’t make any mechanical changes to its Toyota iQ based Cygnet

Yesterday was a pretty surprising day in the automotive industry with Aston Martin announcing an innovative alliance with Toyota to develop the Gaydon automaker’s first luxury compact, fuel-efficient vehicle. We’ve now dug up some more information on the new Toyota iQ based Aston Martin Cygnet, which may surprisingly enter production as early as next year.

‘It’s a great compliment that the Toyota iQ has been hand-picked by one of the world’s most prestigious sports car brands, a company with whom we also share a strong friendship. This collaboration represents a natural pairing of strategies: a small yet spacious package, perfect for the city driver, finished off with Aston Martin’s iconic design language,’ said Tadashi Arashima, CEO and President of TME.

Reports say that Aston Martin will build up to 2,000 units of the Cygnet annually. The luxury supercar automaker won’t be making any mechanical changes to the iQ, which will be built and shipped directly to Aston’s assembly plant by Toyota. The only changes Aston will add is a new grille, minimal changes to the headlamps and Aston’s signature vents on the hood and front quarter panels. It will also trim out the interior with upgraded technology and leather.

Aston says it will first offer the Cygnet to current Aston Martin owners and will later off it to others interested in the car, reports Automotive News.

Pricing is expected to come in at 23,000 euros ($32,285 USD), up from Toyota iQ’s base price of 12,700 euros ($17,827 USD).


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.

Keep Reading: 2010 / 2011 Aston Martin Cygnet - Car News


James Bond's DBS from Quantum of Solace

Click above for high-res image gallery of the Quantum of Solace DBS

Your English-manor-garden variety Aston Martin DBS has 510 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. The 6.0-liter V12 that powers it will pull the coupe to 60 in 4.3 seconds. It costs $305,000, and it is a special car. But we drove one that was even more special. We drove one of the Aston Martins that was in Quantum of Solace, driven by the man who plays The Man. We didn't even have to break into some supermax-like vault-within-a-vault to get to it. Aston Martin delivered it to us for a day of spy play, yet that didn't make the experience any less thrilling. Follow the jump for the story.

Spy Shots: Aston Martin Rapide spied again in the buff

With every automaker and their cousins coming up with their own take on the four-door coupe concept, the Aston Martin Rapide continues to sporadically rear its pretty head to show the rest of 'em how it's done.
The concept car, originally unveiled in 2006, cut a striking silhouette, and as the vehicle rumbles towards production it remains apparent that Aston Martin has no intention of losing any of the show car's pizzazz. The latest batch of spy shots, like those we've seen up until now, shows a test mule that retains the concept's glass roof, indicating that it could be a pleasant - though unfortunately top-heavy - standard feature. Speculation is that both V8 and V12 engine options, derived from the Vantage and DB9 respectively, will be offered to better compete with the varied powertrain options available in the Porsche Panamera. Expect to see the production Rapide revealed sometime later this year or early in 2010.
[Source: NextAutos]

Technically Speaking: Aston Martin could be repossessed by banks

Aston Martin chairman David Richards has admitted that his company is in danger of a "technical breach of its banking covenants" sometime later this year. The situation could, technically, lead to the banks which financed the acquisition of the British sportscar-maker repossessing it.
Now we're not experts in finance. Not by any stretch of the imagination. So we couldn't tell you specifically what terms of the particular agreement between Aston's owners and its financial underwriters the company is in danger of breaching. But we take some comfort in the use of the contingent term "technical" in connection with the dire term "breach". At this point it would seem that the breach is only a possibility, not an eventuality, and that in such a circumstance the bank would have to be motivated to take control of the company. (We won't tell them if you don't.) But hopefully the Kuwaiti investors propping up Richards will work out a solution before it ever reaches that stage. Otherwise, Aston Martin could end up changing hands yet again.
[Source: The Sunday Times via WCF]

Aston Martin returning to LeMans with two Works LMP1 cars

Click above for a high-res image of the 2009 Aston Martin LeMans Works LMP1

Aston Martin is ready to tackle the 2009 24 Hours of LeMans in a pair of Gulf-liveried LMP1 vehicles on the 50th anniversary of its only overall win in the Franco enduro. The two coupes are based on the 2008 Charouz Racing System Lola and will be powered by the same production-based V12 found in the LeMans GT1 DBR9. Development was performed by Lola, Michelin, Koni and BBS, along with Aston's largest partner, Gulf Oil. Driving duties will be handled by Jan Charouz, Tomas Enge and Stefan Mücke, along with Darren Turner who was part of the team that campaigned the DBR9 GT1 crew in 2007 and 2008. Harold Primat is the newest addition to the team and one other driver will be announced shortly. Unfortunately, Aston won't be campaigning in the GT1 class in bid to focus all its efforts on LMP1 program. It's going to be an exciting year and we're hoping to bring it to you live the weekend of June 13 and 14. All the details are available in the press release below the fold.

Aston Martin plant down to three-day work week

Click above for a high-res gallery of the 2009 Aston Martin V8 Vantage

Late last year, Aston Martin announced that it would reduce its ranks by some 600 workers to cope with a sales slide of 28% in 2008. Apparently, those cuts, which are now halfway completed, weren't enough to stem the tide of red ink, as Bond's favorite automaker has now said it will place its entire staff of assembly line workers on a work week that starts on Monday and ends on Wednesday. A total of 1,250 individuals now work at the Gaydon, Warwickshire plant, and almost half of those employees will be affected by the three-day work week.
Bentley, another famous British automaker, announced its own production cuts just yesterday. In response to the industry hardships faced by automakers in the U.K., the British government has promised £2.3 billion worth of aid, though we're not yet sure how much will go to smaller companies like Aston Martin.

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