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Aston’s mini Cygnet primed for Australia

No ugly duckling: Aston Martin's Cygnet has attracted plenty of inquiry in Australia, according to the company.

Hands up Down Under for Aston Martin Cygnet mini musclecar at $60K

22 Feb 2010

ASTON MARTIN’S macho midget, the Cygnet, will be “very, very strongly considered” for Australia should Aston’s ultimate accessory go into production as expected late this year.

But keen customers – and apparently there are plenty of them – will have to pay for the privilege of driving this Toyota iQ-based Aston, with an expected pricetag of about $60,000, plus on-road costs, making it Australia’s most expensive light car by a margin of about $20,000.

The company’s regional operations manager Marcel Fabris told GoAuto at the unveiling of the $366,280 V12 four-door Rapide in Melbourne on Friday that the Cygnet officially remained a concept car and that Aston Martin was still assessing its viability around the word.

“The thought at this point is that it will go into production and be released initially in Europe and the UK,” he said.

“If that does happen, then it will be very, very strongly considered for the Australian market because we have actually seen quite a lot of local interest for the car.

“The interest in Cygnet has surprised us – really surprised us.”

44 center imageMr Fabris said three distinct groups of people in Australia had expressed interest interested in the Cygnet.

“Firstly, there is the existing group of Aston Martin owners who would like to buy one as a car for their wife, as a car for their daughter or their son to go to university or just as a car to run around town, or for themselves so they don’t have to take their two-door sportscar out every time they go out, so they can drive their very exclusive, very bespoke city micro-car around.

“The second group is people that like the finer things but can’t at this point afford a $350,000-plus sportscar but who have enough to buy a very exclusive, very bespoke city-car.

“The third group is made up of commercial people – premium hotels, conference facilities, restaurants – that provide a very high level of service to their customers and guests who would use the Cygnet as a very bespoke, unique form of transport for their clientele.”

Mr Fabris said projected pricing for Cygnet in the UK was about 27,000-28,000.

“By the time we bring that to Australia with duties and taxes, it is probably going to work out in the $60,000 bracket,” he said.

“It is a very exciting, funky, bespoke car. It will be very exclusive, like all Aston Martins, and we expect to have a similar following to the Mini and Fiat 500 – it is in that type of bracket where it will be a fashion accessory as well as a functional piece of somebody’s garage.”

The Cygnet’s price would be about double that of Australia’s current most expensive micro-car, the $25,290 Smart ForTwo Cabrio Turbo, or five times the price of the cheapest, the $11,790 Suzuki Alto.

It would even carry a healthy premium over the larger Alfa Romeo Mito Sport Hatchback, at $37,490, and Australia’s top-shelf light-car, the Renault Clio RS197 F1 ($39,990).

Aston is reportedly planning to build 4000 Cygnets a year. The base car will be supplied by Toyota Motor Europe from its Belgian plant and then heavily modified at Aston’s Gaydon factory in the UK.

Although details of the Aston fit-out remain secret, expect Aston styling cues as per a design exercise shown in June last year, plus plenty of mechanical enhancement.

In Toyota guise, the 2985mm-long mini is available as either a two or four-seater with a choice of 1.0 and 1.3-litre petrol engines and a 1.4-litre diesel, producing 50kW/98Nm, 72kW/123Nm and 66kW/118Nm respectively. However, the engine bay is said to be big enough for a 1.6-litre engine.

Sold in both Europe and Japan, the iQ's fuel consumption is just 4.3 litres per 100km in 1.0-litre petrol six-speed manual form, while CO2 emissions are a mere 99 grams per kilometre. A CVT transmission is available.

The CO2 emissions figure will be important to Aston Martin as Europe – and potentially Australia – has signalled its intention to adopt strict CO2 emissions standards that demand a new-car company fleet average of 130g/km by 2015 or suffer significant financial penalities on each car sold.

None of the existing Aston models comes close to the new standard, with the current DB9 Volante, for example, emitting 389g/km.

Mr Fabris said Aston Martin was not considering a package deal for Cygnet with each of its other models.

“But if someone wanted to buy two cars, we would of course look after them,” he said.

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