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.

And, as with traditional Aston Martin products, the British maker plans to offer an extensive range of customization options.

But the powerplant will remain the same on both the Toyota and Aston versions: a 99-horsepower, 1.3-liter engine.

Aston is also exploring the possibility of producing a battery-powered Cygnet, which could assist the Kuwaiti-owned company deal with strict new European Union limits on CO2 emissions.

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