UK: Aston Martin axes Toyota iQ-based Cygnet
Aston Martin is dropping the Toyota iQ-based Cygnet city car following slow sales to focus on models more geared to their traditional customers.
“Cygnet production will end this year,” spokeswoman Sarah Calam told Bloomberg News.
The car, with hand-stitched leather interior and other upgrades had been priced at GBP31,000 (US$50,000), over double the price of the iQ.
Demand for the model was about 250 a year, IHS Automotive data cited by Bloomberg showed. The original sales target was at least 1,500 annually.
“The Cygnet project was a failure and it doesn’t make sense to keep on producing the model as the premium city car market in Europe isn’t performing well at all,” Pierluigi Bellini, an analyst at IHS Automotive in Milan, told Bloomberg. “Dropping the Cygnet while planning an SUV to expand outside Europe makes much more sense.”
Andrea Bonimi, chairman of Investindustrial which owns a 37.5% stake in AM, reportedly said earlier this year he wants to expand the lineup while establishing partnerships to limit the cost of developing models.
In July, Daimler said it would take a stake of up to 5% in Aston Martin as part of a technical tie-up between the British automaker and AMG, the performance division of Mercedes-Benz. Aston Martin said the deal would give it "significant access" to the resources of AMG and Mercedes-Benz technology, allowing the development of V8 powertrains and the use of certain electric/electronic architecture components.
The company added: "The technical partnership will support Aston Martin's launch of a new generation of models that will incorporate cutting-edge technology and newly developed bespoke V8 powertrains.”
A Bloomberg source said recently Aston has a target of boosting annual sales to about 7,000 vehicles in 2016 from about 3,400 cars in 2012, with growth propelled by catering to growing demand in Asia, North America and South America.