Aston abandons Lagonda SUV


Talismanic former CEO of Aston Martin Dr Ulrich Bez may well have been one of the most outspoken characters in the automotive industry. But where is the company going as it heads into the post-Bez era? PH got a hint chatting with Director of Design Marek Reichman just the other day. “China is historically a four-door market,” Marek points out. “Obviously our most successful model there is Rapide.”

Lagonda SUV concept canned; no great loss?
Lagonda SUV concept canned; no great loss?
And what of Lagonda and the SUV?

“We first showed the Lagonda SUV concept back in 2009,” explains Marek. “We still have plans for the brand. There might be some surprises in the marque’s re-establishment into the market place, but as a very unique coachbuilt experience. And that’s probably what’s most befitting of the brand.”

Will Lagonda become a high-end badge, perhaps like Special Operations to Jaguar Land Rover or a limited edition model in its own right?

“It’s more. It’s the reinvention of the marque, the brand, but done in a very, very limited way. It’s not something we believe that is a mass product.”

21st-century reinvention of this might be rather cool
21st-century reinvention of this might be rather cool
When Aston Martin talks of ‘limited’ and ‘special’ and ‘not a mass product’, then you know we’re talking about a very special car indeed. It means, in all likelihood, fewer than 100 units, very exclusive and with a price tag to match. Our money is now firmly on the rumoured Lagonda four-door, pitched squarely at the emerging markets in China and the rest of Asia. And what of Dr Bez’s SUV?

“That was a different time,” interjects Marek smoothly. “It was Ulrich’s time. And now we’re in a very, very different time, with a different plan and with a different projection of what that brand should become.”

P.H. O'meter

Join the PH rating wars with your marks out of 10 for the article (Your ratings will be shown in your profile if you have one!)

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Rate this article

Comments (80) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Clivey 28 Jul 2014

    bobberz said:
    The sharper, more angular lines of that seem to echo the recent Aston Zagato concepts (as seen recently at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este in Lake Como), which I actually find quite attractive.

    lick These look stunning.



    If AM are to build an SUV, it needs to be at least as classy as the Range Rover. If it's not done in the right way, no matter how many millions they make, it will dilute the brand. Some manufacturers (BMW) do seem to be in a race to the bottom at the moment...at least from a car enthusiast's point of view.

  • DonkeyApple 28 Jul 2014

    strummerville said:
    Everyone is comparing Aston with Porsche who obviously cashed in on the aggressive tank market. What about Ferrari? They haven't succumbed and are actually reducing production volume to gain exclusivity.

    Maybe Aston should start a Burberry cap style range of cack a la Ferrari. Perhaps move into the same retail unit vacated by Lotus?
    The problem is that Ferrari is owned by a larger company. AM isn't. That does has massive ramifications for accessing the capital markets for expansion etc. Plus I think there is a strong case to argue that Ferrari is a more dominant global brand that has prospered hugely from the growing New World markets as the brand is a much more successful overt display of success.

    Cars are becoming more and more expensive to put into production and unless you can access hundreds and hundreds of millions and also achieve economies of scale through enough volume then you will just die a slow, horrible death.

    The problem AM have is that even if you assume over 50% margin on all sales when you look at the number of units AM sells per annum versus their liabilities or total value (based on most recent buy in) the numbers look really horrible. Really horrible. Add in the major shareholders showing a lack of willing for further capital injections and the volume fAilure of the Rapide, the inability to build their own power plants and the reversion to small, one off production runs to bring in short term cash flow and it's not good at all.

    The two obvious solutions are to revert to being the halo brand of a multinational who benefits from the status elevation or to produce a product that can sell in bulk with enormous margins. The latter being the premium SUV, as unpalatable as that may be.

    I don't believe anyone wants to see AM fail and I believe that most people love their products but if they don't acquire strong and consistent cash flows from the key buying markets by creating the suitable product they are kaput.

    Personally, I believe they shelved the SUV not out of choice but because they haven't the money to develop anything that doesn't use their VH platform. It's good that they have managed to produce a bigger saloon on it and maybe if the ME sales go well it will transpire to have been a clever way to soft launch the Lagonda brand and build its name for the less sophisticated moneyed markets so that there is demand for the brand that will underwrite the outside investment needed to expand it as a proper business. Aston for GTs and sports cars and Lagondas for super premium saloons and SUVs.

  • strummerville 28 Jul 2014

    Everyone is comparing Aston with Porsche who obviously cashed in on the aggressive tank market. What about Ferrari? They haven't succumbed and are actually reducing production volume to gain exclusivity.

    Maybe Aston should start a Burberry cap style range of cack a la Ferrari. Perhaps move into the same retail unit vacated by Lotus?

  • Clivey 28 Jul 2014

    Amirhussain said:
    How well has the Rapide sold? Aston needed this car, look how many Cayenne's Porsche has sold.
    No, they really didn't. Not unless they were going to do it properly and make something we could proudly call an Aston / Lagonda. The concept shown was so hideous it looked like a blind 14-year-old work experience kid designed it by sticking an Aston grille on some Play-Doh.

    DonkeyApple said:
    As lovely as the Rapide is, it really serves no real purpose and that is why no one has bought any and they had to shut down the deal with Stayr and bring the small production to the UK.

    I'd buy a Rapide but I'm not living in some third world hell hole, married to a bohemoth with two lumps of lard for offspring.

    The Rapide was again about cutting corners. They knew they needed a big saloon at least for the key markets that were delivering sales to their competitors but they chose to squeeze something out on the cheap, using an existing platform and funnel the money instead to their pensions.
    Actually, I completely agree with that.

  • tali1 28 Jul 2014

    Middle East invitation only - Roger Dudding will not be pleased!

View all comments in the forums Make a comment