When I first saw the Aston Martin Cygnet I thought it was just another example of a luxury carmaker making branded products. In this case: an odd and severely ugly roller-skate. Then someone told me it was a car. I politely laughed at their joke. Later, though, I noticed the steering wheel.
It’s taken me nearly two years to get over the shock. Alas, my tribulations and soul searching took too long. Aston Martin is taking the Cygnet out of production and I will never have the opportunity to buy one.
This handbag-sized car was not even really an Aston to begin with, but instead a self-propelled dishwasher with wheels called the Toyota IQ. Actually, my editor has just informed me that the IQ is also in fact a car. Who knew? To make the Cygnet, Aston borrowed the IQ and tarted it up with Aston badges and fancy seats. Why did Aston make such a monstrosity? So that it could live up to EU fuel-efficiency regulations.
European automakers are required to meet average targets for fuel economy and emissions across their entire range of cars; a challenge for Aston Martin who believes that any car with less than eight cylinders just isn’t finished yet. So instead, it decided to engage in the clever subterfuge of simply borrowing some of Toyota’s numbers.
Unfortunately for Aston, it may have been able to fool government regulators but not buyers. There have been a few high points for Aston. For a short time, it couldn’t keep up with production orders. This, funnily enough, why most shoes are made in countries without labor laws.
Another high for Aston was when famed racing driver Stirling Moss bought a Cygnet for his wife. Full disclosure: the Digital Trends legal staff is currently investigating to see if it constitutes spousal abuse. However, in the end, not many people bought the Cygnet. After all, $50,000 dollars is a lot to pay for a roller skate – especially when they only give you one.