Aston Martin set tongues wagging earlier this week with the announcement of the Cygnet concept car, a £20,000 mini-Aston based on the Toyota iQ city car. Such a move is fraught with danger for a luxury manufacturer and Aston Martin will be hoping that their bid to grab a slice of the upmarket small car pie, a niche carved out by fellow UK car maker Mini, will prove a hit with the 25-30% of Aston owners in Europe that have a small car. To minimise the risk, the company will initially only offer the car to existing customers; CEO Dr Ulrich Bez describing the car as being akin to an ‘exclusive tender for a luxury yacht’.
If successful the Cygnet could open the door to further cooperation between Aston and Toyota- an intriguing possibility in light of the Japanese giant’s advanced hybrid technology that it currently uses in its Lexus range. It could also be another significant step in the miniaturisation of automotive luxury – Ferrari-flavoured Fiat 500 Abarth anyone?