Lord Love A Lagonda

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
lord love a lagonda

About two and a half years ago, Aston Martin started talking very seriously about bringing back its “four door, four seat” Lagonda brand, arguing that the move

would allow us to develop cars which can have a different character than a sportscar, and therefore offer a perfect synergy.

But, because Aston already had a four-door in the works, the Lagonda Concept turned out to be a bloated abortion of a luxury SUV-cum-Crossover. And having been met with resounding derision from fans as well as high gas prices and an economic downturn, Aston wisely hustled the Lagonda Concept out of sight and proceeded to embarrass itself by rebadging a Toyota. But now that the world economy is looking a little bit better and gas prices are headed up again, Aston Martin is back to touting Lagonda. And this time it seems the British sportscar firm is imagining a whole line of SUVs aimed at the most refined and tasteful buyers on the world luxury market.

In essence, the Lagonda brand will be targeted at the elite of developing countries, offering old world prestige to plutocrats and despots who want to drive an Aston Martin but don’t want to fund adequate road infrastructure. A-M’s communications director Janette Green explains to Autocar that

Aston Martin is present in 35 countries but there are limits to where you can drive a sports car. In Russia, for example, you need a car that can cope with difficult roads and harsh winters.

So, what are the elite of those plucky up-and-coming developing nations looking for in a luxury SUV? A $150k-$500k price tag, and the option of up-armoring the thing for security (in the grand Lagonda tradition, of course). And because only Bentley is developing a luxury Crossover (apparently Aston hasn’t heard of Maserati’s GranCherokee), Aston believes it will have a lock on this prestigious market made up of sophisticate aesthetes who were formerly satisfied with garishly-tuned German luxury SUVs.

But everyone know Lagonda won’t make any progress if their vehicles look like that Lagonda Concept, right? Chief designer Marek Reichman explains

That was a reaction car. It was about provoking debate and gauging whether people were willing to accept Lagonda as a brand. People didn’t say Lagonda shouldn’t exist, they just said that a Lagonda shouldn’t look like that. Our research shows that 60 per cent of people thought Lagonda was a viable brand.

But how do you asses the viability of a brand when you have no idea what its products look or perform like? No matter to Aston’s management, they’re convinced that they can create a multi-model lineup of Lagondas for “a small fraction” of the billion dollars Daimler spent reviving Maybach. Meanwhile, you may still be able to buy an Aston-designed (non-Rapide) four-door in the future, as Aston is said to be designing the next generation of Maybachs. The only way to make sense of this crazy jumble of brands and missions is if Daimler buys the whole mess, and makes Aston, Maybach and Lagonda the ultra-luxury brands for its sportscars, sedans and SUVs, respectively.

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  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Mar 09, 2011

    It makes it easy for Chrysler to come up with "Baby Lagonda" SUV to supplement "Baby Bently" sedan. Not exactly babies but compared with original...

  • 2ronnies1cup 2ronnies1cup on Aug 15, 2011

    Well, it's clearly - how should I put this - aimed at Transatlantic tastes.

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