Not up to the marque
About the Cygnet… That I didn’t write earlier regarding whether the Toyota iq with the Aston Martin grille should be included in Vantage’s model listings shows that I really have been too busy lately!
So that you know where I’m coming from, I’ve been a complete gearhead since birth and enthralled with Astons since I was five years old. The dream came true in 2009 when I became the fortunate owner of a brand new V8 Vantage (coupé, manual ’box, Sports Pack), and about two years ago a 2005 Vanquish S joined the Vantage in my garage.
I admire everything that Aston Martin stands for: performance, elegance, good taste, gorgeous looks, real craftsmanship, heritage, and that intangible mystique that has made almost every Aston immensely desirable.
The Cygnet was a total rejection of everything that made Aston Martin one of the truly great marques. The notion of sticking the iconic badge and grille onto a tiny Toyota (regardless of how good and ‘of our time’ the iq may have been) and claiming it worthy of wearing the Aston wings was not merely cynical but showed a complete lack of understanding of what an Aston is. This was not ‘managing a brand’ – it placed the marque’s iconic stature in serious jeopardy.
Throughout its history, when one saw a car wearing the Aston grille and badge, one knew it was a sporting car that was truly special, seriously desirable, and built with real craftsmanship (not just in the interior or on the surface) by and for people passionate about the marque.
In stark contrast, on the Cygnet the Aston grille denoted cynicism, fakery and tastelessness, the mundane tarted up to appear special – everything Aston Martin was not.
Let us be clear: the Cygnet was not created because of a requirement to meet emissions standards, which some have argued excused the Cygnet’s existence. Ulrich Bez specifically stated that emissions regulations had nothing to do with it, and that he simply thought it was a brilliant idea. I have a great deal of respect for what Dr Bez did for Aston Martin (and Porsche), but I find this utterly dumbfounding.
It was no surprise to me or most of the Aston community that the Cygnet sold poorly and was quietly dropped. The mistake will hopefully remain a unique one. That the marque’s reputation survived intact is a testament to how strong the Aston Martin name is.
I can’t argue that the Cygnet shouldn’t be listed in Vantage since they did put it on sale, but I hope they learned to never do something so shameful again.