What's Wrong With This Picture: Yacht Tender Edition
When Aston-Martin was first trying to explain there’s nothing undignified about rebadging a Toyota iQ, the firm’s argument was that the Cygnet would be like a “luxury yacht tender.” If you own a yacht (or a “real Aston”), went the company’s logic, nobody’s going to make fun of you for being seen in a dinghy. Or a Toyota. But it seems as though Aston’s argument has been taken a bit too literally. Here, a Top Gear Magazine feature tries towing a Cygnet in a Virage, effectively ruining the “real Aston’s” performance in exchange for more urban practicality when they arrive in Monaco (but at least they got a schadenfreude-laden picture of the Cygnet next to its Toyota cousin). And lest you think this “yacht tender” nonsense is only being done by barmy British magazines, think again. Now Aston just needs to build an actual yacht, so your DBS or Virage can be the yacht tender, and the Cygnet can be the yacht tender’s yacht tender. Now that would be luxury… [via Derek Kreindler’s Tumblr]
Here is what I wrote about this a few weeks ago. My guess is that Aston is taking its first steps toward my strategy: When you buy a car, you will have to buy two cars. One of them will be a regular car that gets CAFE 30 mpg. The other one will get 100 mpg. That will cause the mfg’s CAFE average to remain at 65 mpg. The 100 mpg car will be brutal. No power anything, plastic body, plastic windows, no HVAC. 25 hp two cyl engine, manual transmission. A Tata Nano without the charm. You will take delivery of the two cars, and get plates for both of them. Once that is done, you will take (probably on a trailer) the mini car, to a special dealer who will buy it from you at a decent percentage of list price. That dealer will ship the car to a parts company that will reduce it in to parts small enough not to require a VIN. The parts company will sell the parts to an OEM, which will build a new 100 mpg car with them.
Or, they could, you know, build a four-wheeled motorcycle, slap it with a special low-speed-vehicle plate, and bundle it with your car. Bam! A 100 mpg vehicle that seats two people and a bag of chips. Won't even have to sell it off afterwards, it'd probably cost less than a Nav-Sat option.
Actually, it would be interesting to to see an 'exotic' everyday car... to see how far you could push a real-world car by using exotic technology... carbon chassis, inboard push-rod double a-arm suspension, titanium con-rods, carbon-ceramic brakes, composite wheels... the works. How much performance could you get out of a 1.5l car? That would be an interesting question. However, re-branding a mundane car as an exotic is just opening a company up for ridicule.
For the same reason it would need a carbon chassis. Because status symbol.