Thursday, July 16, 2009

Aston Martin Unveils Mini-Me Commuter Car

Most famous for the DB5, James Bond's choice of wheels in Goldfinger, Aston Martin could soon go into production on a 'baby' model aimed at commuters.

Aston Martin Cygnet

A clay model of the car; the real version could come with a £20,000 price tag

The carmaker is teaming-up with Toyota to create the Cygnet, a sort of Aston 'mini-me' based on the Toyota iQ sold in Europe.

Still very much at the idea stage, Aston says it is releasing details now to gauge reaction and will go into production next year if the response is good.

The firm is hinting at a price tag of around £20,000 - a massive saving of £50,000 on the V8 Vantage.

The Cygnet will be based on the standard Toyota iQ but offer an Aston interior and body kit, with the distinctive front and leather interior.

This signals a huge change of direction by the luxury carmaker.

Better known for its high-end performance cars that sell for upwards of £100,000, the company has been hit by a sharp fall in demand for its sports cars.

Aston Martin DB5

The marque's more familiar face

In a struggling car industry that has seen casualties including General Motors and Chrysler, Aston Martin chief executive Ulrich Bez says car manufacturers have to be prepared to diversify.

He said: "We have to move on from the preconceived ideas regarding what an Aston Martin is about."

According to the firm, the Cygnet is designed to be a "luxury commuter" car which is a nod to the trend that "small is beautiful these days".

There is one snag for wannabe buyers: you have to be a member of the exclusive Aston Martin Owners Club to be offered the chance to buy one.

If initial take-up is good, Aston say they will then offer the car for sale to the general public.

Aston Martin was founded in 1913 in London and now employs more than 1,250 workers producing 7,000 cars every year.

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