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Aston Martin to launch SUV brand

2011-03-14 08:11

BEGINNING OF THE END: Aston Martin’s Lagonda concept. Crossover or SUV? Whatever it is, they are now going to build it.

British luxury performance car brand Aston Martin has confirmed it will revive the Lagonda name.

As part of Aston Martin’s illustrious design heritage, Lagondas have traditionally been four-door luxury cars – instead of the coupe fare for which Aston Martin is best known.

With the company boasting a four-door model, the Rapide, in its portfolio Aston Martin’s boss, Ulrich Bez, has announced that Aston Martin has assigned engineering resources for a new Lagonda models.

The company, one of the few remaining independent low-volume manufacturers, is now seeking funding for the Lagonda project which stalled during the recent financial recession - a revival which has relieved many of Aston Martin's traditional customers.

Bez is cognisant of the risk involved with re-establishing an erstwhile luxury auto brand. Mercedes-Benz has spent around R8-billion on the Maybach brand - and it remains unsuccessful.

Considering it is a much smaller company, Aston Martin simply does not have the cash to weather a Maybach-like error of judgement with its new Lagonda project.


These new Lagondas will be a completely separate line, not badged as Aston Martins but based on the hugely controversial concept SUV shown at the Geneva auto show back in 2008. The revised Lagonda nameplate will aim to establish a new product niche for ultra-luxurious SUV's.

Aston Martin’s strategic thinking behind Lagonda is an effort to capitalise on the substantial demand for luxury SUV's in emerging markets such as Russia and China – countries where road conditions mitigate against the usability of the company’s striking performance coupes.

Engineering details for the new Lagondas will depend on Aston Martin’s growing relationship with Mercedes-Benz. The British manufacturer is slated to take-over Maybach production in future and a technology exchange seems probable.

The German auto giant’s GL-series chassis and drivetrain technology is most likely to underpin and drive the Lagonda models (as they did with the original show car). Don’t expect Aston to use its own range of V8 and V12 engines either. Cognisant of reducing its fleet CO2 emission levels, engineers are looking at hybrid turbodiesel power – most likely also sourced from Mercedes-Benz. 

ELEGANT?: Aston Martin’s product portfolio is generally regarded as the most perfectly designed and packaged around. Then there is this, the Lagonda concept…

With Bentley having announced plans for an ultra-luxury crossover SUV, Aston Martin realises there is a market for vehicles beyond the Range Rover/Porsche Cayenne threshold. Seeking greater sales volumes, the automaker will be desperate to capitalise on a new market opening up for ultra-luxurious SUV's, yet it will have to do better in terms of design than the Lagonda concept show car.

Marek Reichman, chief designer for Aston, has a substantial volume of overtime at the drawing board ahead before the new Lagonda sub-brand launches, perhaps in 2013. With prices expected to be as high as R4-million, Lagonda SUV's remain a very brazen move by the UK-based manufacturer - it could pay huge dividends for Aston Martin, though.

Despite this, we somehow we doubt James Bond will be swopping his DBS for a Lagonda in the next 007 movie.

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