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Posts Tagged ‘aston martin cygnet’

Aston Martin Unveils Major New Product Plan, Aims to Turn Profit by 2016

British luxury maker investing $845 million – also partnering with AMG.

by on May.15, 2014

Aston Martin hopes to expand its line-up with the largest investment plan in its 101-year history.

Aston Martin has announced the largest investment program in its history, a move that it expects will help put the struggling British maker back in the black by 2016.

The plan calls for an investment of $845 million – a relative pittance compared to the funds competitors like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche and Jaguar Land Rover plan to spend in the coming year – but nonetheless the biggest investment ever by Aston, a brand long known for its association with fictional super spy James Bond.

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“A buck travels farther with us,” asserted Hanno Kirner, Aston Martin’s Chief Financial Officer, during a briefing this week.

It will have to. The marque was one of an assortment of European luxury brands sold off by Ford Motor Co. But where Volvo and Jaguar Land Rover found parents with deep pockets – India’s Tata Motors and China’s Geely, respectively – Aston was spun off to a small consortium of investors in 2007 and has been struggling financially ever since.


Get a new Aston Martin for under $50,000?

British maker sets price for new Cygnet.

by on Jan.21, 2011

Aston rolls out two launch models of the new Cygnet urban luxury minicar.

Is it the bargain of the decade – or a complete con?  Opinions have been running both ways about the new Aston Martin Cygnet, the maker’s first-ever mini car.

The minicar will carry a price tag of 30,995 British pounds, Aston has announced, or $49,368 at the current exchange rate.  That’s barely a fifth the starting price of the maker’s top-line DBS and only a bit more than a third as much as the “base” model in the supercar maker’s line-up, the Aston Martin Vantage.

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But will James Bond be caught driving one of the compact urban cruisers?  Maybe if he’s looking for a parking space on the crowded streets near MI6 headquarters, in London.  With its 99-horsepower, 1.3-liter engine this isn’t exactly the sort of product you expect to see 007 using to get away from the bad guys.


First Look: Lotus City Car

Design could incorporate hybrid, plug-in or battery drive.

by on Dec.20, 2010

Lotus plans to launch this city car by late 2013.

Lotus is the latest automaker hoping to convince buyers that small doesn’t have to mean cheap, as it releases the first images of a proposed city car that could hit market by late 2013.

As urban streets get more crowded and regulators press for big increases in fuel efficiency, even the most high-line automakers are looking for downsized alternatives, and the as yet-unnamed Lotus city car, which was first discussed by CEO Dany Bahar in Britain’s Car magazine, is one approach.

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Looking a bit like a modernized, four-door take on the Smart fortwo, the tall Lotus three-door uses a platform specifically designed for an extended-range electric driveline.  A 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine would most likely serve as a generator which, in turn, provides current to the vehicle’s electric motors.

It’s unclear whether Lotus might try to offer other driveline options, such as a pure battery-electric model, or a more conventional hybrid.  Bahar did note that several versions will be developed, including a sporty model.  Battery power actually lends itself to performance, as electric motors generate maximum torque as soon as they start spinning.


First Look: Kia Picanto

Will Koreans bring city car to the States?

by on Dec.09, 2010

Set for Geneva debut, the Kia Picanto.

Fuel prices nudging $3 a gallon, new fuel economy standards that could push 62 mpg.  The headlines give plenty of reasons to wonder whether Kia has the U.S. market in mind as it releases the first sketches of its new Picanto city car.

So far, however, it appears the American market isn’t on the list of places where you’ll be able to buy what looks like a surprisingly slick addition to the Korean maker’s design-driven product revolution.  But, then again, Chevrolet had no plans to bring the new Spark to the States until it announced a sudden about-face.

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Set for launch in the British market during the second quarter of 2011, the Kia Picanto will make its formal debut at the Geneva Motor Show, late this winter.

What appears to be a three-door body uses a sharply-creased wedge design that bears the distinctive look and feel of Peter Schreyer.  The German stylist jumped to Kia, several years ago, to lead its distinctive design push.  Americans will get a good sense of what Schreyer’s touch is yielding with the upcoming launch of the 2011 Kia Optima.


First Look: Cadillac Urban Luxury Concept

“The luxury experience in a diminutive size.”

by on Nov.17, 2010

How small is too small for luxury buyers?

Luxury buyers have traditionally measured a vehicle’s worth by the pound and inch.  But, in an increasingly urban global environment, size doesn’t always measure up.  The big cars of the past very well could be replaced by something more compact but equally luxurious.

Or so Cadillac seems to be suggesting with the Urban Luxury Concept it is introducing at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, a prototype that, the maker says, “offers the luxury experience in a diminutive size.”

Measuring just 151 inches, nose-to-tail, and with a 97.1-inch wheelbase, the ULC is comparable in size to the sort of city cars becoming increasingly popular in Europe and Japan, and which some industry planners will continue to gain momentum in emerging markets like China and India.

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Despite the relatively compact footprint, the ULC’s tall crossover-like stance – with a 56.9-inch height and a 68.1-inch width – provides far more interior space than might seem apparent, at first.  And to ease access, Cadillac designers have opted for a gullwing design – which is operated at the touch of a button.

“It may not look like Cadillacs on the road today, but it shares the comfortable and high-tech elements that owners have come to associate with larger, traditional luxury sedans,” said lead designer Frank Saucedo.


Aston Gives Cygnet The Green Light

But is it really an Aston?

by on Oct.12, 2010

Aston Martin has approved production of the new Cygnet luxury microcar for 2011.

Aston Martin’s first urban commuter luxury car, the Cygnet, will go into production next year, the automaker has decided.

The three-door hatchback, visually the polar opposite of a sleek Aston sports car, will be produced at the maker’s Gaydon assembly plant alongside more exotic models like the DB9.

Aston officials say they decided to approve the project after realizing that a good 30% of their current owners also have microcars, such as Smart or Mini, that they use for commuting.  Aston is betting that by placing its winged badge on the hood it will be able to get a significant premium for the Cygnet over more conventional urban runabouts.

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Production is expected to run about 2,000 units annually, and the price tag is reportedly in the range of 30,000 to 50,000 British pounds, or something under $50,000 to $80,000 – though Aston has not announced any plans for U.S. distribution.

Whether it will be able to make a go of the Cygnet remains to be seen,  in part because the little hatchback is largely based on a rebadged Toyota iQ minicar – even though the Aston version will be upgraded with plenty of upscale touches, including a swaddling of leather in the cabin.


Preview: 2010 Geneva Motor Show

Smaller, greener…and a bit meaner.

by on Mar.01, 2010

The recent launch of the new 5-Series will be complemented by the debut of the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 at the Geneva Motor Show.

There’s been a lot of talk about the future of the auto show, in recent months.  Last October’s event in Tokyo was nearly canceled when most foreign makers pulled out, and the shows in Los Angeles, Detroit and Chicago were downsized versions of their former selves.  But, if anything, this week’s Geneva Motor Show could be bigger than ever.

There are more than 50 manufacturers on the first day’s schedule at the Swiss City’s PALExpo convention center, so many, in fact, that for the first time makers will have to double up, Lotus and Kia, for example, holding simultaneous shows at opposite ends of the hall.

In keeping with recent industry trends, there’ll be an emphasis on green at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, and some of the most significant debuts of environmentally-friendly products will come from surprising quarters.  That includes Porsche and Ferrari, both of which will introduce their first-ever hybrid-electric sports cars

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Ferrari’s 599 will use lithium-ion technology, according to sources, to drive an electric motor that could cut fuel consumption by an estimated 35%, while still maintaining the performance of the sports car’s V12 powerplant.


First Look: Aston Martin Cygnet Commuter Car

Not your father’s Aston – nor 007’s.

by on Dec.16, 2009

The grille is classic, but there's a lot of Toyota in the overall design of the Aston Martin Cygnet commuter car concept.

The grille is classic, but there's also a lot of the little Toyota IQ in the overall design of the Aston Martin Cygnet commuter car concept.

Automaker’s often talk about their DNA, the defining characteristics of a brand, which might be quality, design, performance or price.  Say the name, Aston Martin, and sleekly elegant high-performance sports cars immediately come to mind.

So a first look at these, the first official pics of the Aston Martin Cygnet concept car, is likely to come as a real disconnect.  The three-door hatchback is, at least visually, the polar opposite of classic Aston models, such as the DBS.

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What Aston has come up with may, however, be more in tune with global realities, where there are fewer and fewer opportunities to put a sports car through its paces.  The British maker – now owned by Kuwaiti investors, appears to be betting that there’ll be a booming market for downsized commuter cars, in the years to come, and that there will always be at least a few affluent buyers willing to spend the extra money for something truly exclusive.


First Look: Aston Martin Cygnet

Can a commuter car also be a luxury car?

by on Jun.29, 2009

Most folks would say that luxury cars and commuter cars are mutually exclusive.  Not Aston Martin, which is developing the Cygnet concept in partnership with Toyota.

Most folks would say that luxury cars and commuter cars are mutually exclusive. Not Aston Martin, which is developing the Cygnet concept in partnership with Toyota, and using the Japanese maker's iQ as a base.

Say the name, Aston Martin, and it invariably brings up images of the most exclusive automotive products, like the DB9 or Vanquish, vehicles that can push into the $250,000 territory.

So what is Aston doing with the Cygnet, which it is billing as an “innovative commuter car concept”?  There’s a lot of interest in basic, around-town transportation, these days, but most offerings are rather basic affairs, like the Smart fortwo or the Think City electric vehicle.  Has the British maker found a way to make the terms, luxury and commuter car, synonymous rather than mutually exclusive?

It should help that Aston has turned for help to Toyota, maker of the Yaris, Venza and other forms of basic, around-town transportation.  While the British marque isn’t offering many details, it does confirm that the Cygnet concept is based on the Japanese maker’s pint-sized iQ, a 3-door hatchback that was first introduced at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show.  Measuring just 117.5 inches, nose-to-tail, iQ went on sale in Japan in late 2008, and in the U.K., this past January.

“Now is the right time for Aston Martin to take this first bold step to embark on this special project,” said Aston CEO Ulrich Bez, in a prepared release, adding “Much work is still required, but I am confident that this project could become reality in the not too distant future. This concept – akin to an exclusive tender to a luxury yacht – will allow us to apply Aston Martin design language, craftsmanship and brand values to a completely new segment of the market.”