It’s Almost an Aston
Look, sure, it’s a tiny Toyota with a tiny engine at Turners Porirua, but it’s also, basically, an Aston Martin. Will your neighbours even know the difference when they see it parked in your drive? Will they think you’ve won the lottery? Well probably not. But Aston Martin did make a version of the Toyota iQ and it didn’t go well. Read on...
The iQ is a city car made by Toyota. It uses some interesting design and engineering tricks to create internal space that belies its tiny exterior dimensions. For a start it’s a four-seater (3 adults and a child) with even a small boot space. This looks unlikely from the outside but by moving a few things around, mounting the flat fuel tank under the floor and reducing the size of the air conditioning unit (and much more) the iQ is a bit of a Tardis. It also has a great turning circle, fantastic fuel economy and was awarded a 5-star safety rating.
All of that is great but what you really want to know is why Aston Martin, creator of luxury grand tourers and supercars, ended up making a version of the iQ, calling it the Cygnet and trying to flog it for $60k? Maybe they thought there was a market for a high-end city car or that rich Aston driving blokes might buy one for their wife or mistress. But the real reason is a bit more prosaic: Aston Martin needed to bring down its average fleet emissions to avoid steep financial penalties from the EU. And its chosen method to achieve this was not to get their luxury cars to emit less pollution but instead to introduce a tiny car that would lower the average across their range.
The Aston Cygnet used the biggest of the iQ’s petrol engines (1.3L) and gave it an external facelift and a luxury interior makeover. The price was three time higher than the base Toyota iQ and AM aimed to sell 4000 units a year. They ended up selling just 150 over its three-year production making the Cygnet a financial disaster and a very rare Aston that now sells used for more than its optimistic price tag when new.
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