Nathan Williams managed to find one the 300 A-M Cygnets ever made, sitting at the curb in Chelsea, London. The Cygnet’s sales were so low not because it was one of those limited-production supercars, but because it was a royal flop. It’s sales target was 4,000 per year; it sold some 150 units in each of its two years in production (2012-2013).
Why was this re-badged and gussied up Toyota iQ (Scion iQ in the US) ever made?
It was a “compliance-mobile” pure and simple; a way for A-M to meet the EU emission regulations, which were tightening in 2012.
The fact that it cost some three times as much as its donor-mobile didn’t exactly add to its appeal. Now if it had been an EV, it would have been granted preferred status in London’s congestion scheme, as well help out even more in meeting those EU emission standards. Seems kinda dumb to me; that might have worked.
Oh well. It does add a bit of color to Aston-Martin’s history, although I suspect it will more likely be forgotten. The sooner, the better.
While the iQ wasn’t a bad city car, badge engineering it and raising the price times three certainly seemed like a less than terrific idea.
It’s almost as if British Leyland hadn’t died after all.
Doesn’t really justify the price premium, but the Cygnet had a pretty nicely trimmed interior (especially compared to the typical Scion iQ). It was probably quite customizable, as well. Coupled with it being based on a Toyota, it might even be one of the most reliable Aston Martins, too.
IIRC, wasn’t there some kind of program where Aston Martin was including a ‘free’ Cygnet when someone bought one of their more typical offerings?
It is a real jewel. A perfect babble for someone wanting a tiny car that screams expensive. The interiors of the Cygnet were exquisite. You got money burning a whole in your pocket and you wish to make a fashion statement? This is your ride.
Exactly. Besides the compliance aspect, I would imagine the Cygnet was heavily influenced by the early success of the smart fortwo which was aimed at precisely the same fashion statement market.
The only problem is that fashion and style are quite fleeting, and that’s exactly what happened with the fortwo after the initial infatuation. There just aren’t any new styling directions to go with cars that small.
BMW did better in the same niche with the i3
Yeah, Aston Martin was sort of screwed after it left Ford ownership. It was using a mixture of increasingly dated Volvo and Ford EU electronics, modified Jaguar V8 engines, Ford-based V12 engines, and little money to redesign any of it. Which is why the company is now in bed with, and partially owned by, Mercedes-AMG.
But prior to that, yes, the corporate fuel economy ratings were of particular concern.
The thing was, the Cygnet was a cheeky little effort, and it was mostly bought by existing Aston Martin owners who had enough money to buy such a novelty. It remains a valuable collector’s item, and generally transacts around the £50K mark.
A slightly less-cynical and less-overpriced mini-car was the 2012 MINI Cooper S Inspired by Goodwood. Since both MINI and Rolls-Royce are part of the BMW corporate structure, the MINI Cooper S IBG was essentially a 1,000-unit run that had a subtle interior and a Rolls-Royce interior. Goodwood refers to the facility where all Rolls-Royce models have been built since mid-2002. Among the details: lamb’s-wool floor mats, leather-covered surfaces, gloss-black controls, walnut pieces designed and shaped at the Goodwood facility, standard Rolls-Royce Diamond Black paint, and a Rolls-Royce-style woven headliner.
Yours for $50K.
The Goodwood MINI seems like something of an ‘affordable’ Rolls-Royce and does, indeed, smack of the Cygnet in that regard. IOW, you get the interior of an Aston or Roller (albeit a small one) without the ostentatious exterior or outrageous price.
The only problem is the recognizable exterior is the primary reason people of means buy a Rolls-Royce or Aston Martin. It goes a very long way to explaining why neither the Cygnet nor the Goodwood MINI were a sales success.
Got to confess that I love the iQ so much that I have to love the silly encrusted version even more. Even must – if sheepishly – admit that I’m glad to hear its gone up in value, if only for the historical curio value.
I must also confess I’ve never seen an iQ, let alone driven in or ridden in one, but instead have relied on all the contemporary reports suggesting a quite refined car that can seat three (and a half), and yet park in pretty much its own length. It’s impossible not to love the effort put into achieving that, given that the 2-seat Smart from the great Mercedes feels like a $2-shop item (and I HAVE been in one of those astoundingly nasty machines).
With the Cygnet you got matching throw pillows.
Presumably, to throw.
For genteel road-raging, perchance.
I think people saying the interior makes it worth it are grossly overstating what’s different about it from the IQ. It has some leather trim tacked onto the dash and door panels, the rest is straight up Toyota.
It’s an Aston Martin Cimarron, but worse
Didnt you get one free with certain Aston Martin super cars? I seem to remember reading that somewhere.
For the triple price premium the least they could have done is used the Scion IQ Concept body panels. That would make it stand out just a skosh and make it a little more worthy of the Aston Martin badge.
Well, Aston did use their sense of humour and built this one-off V8 version….