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Aston Martin Lagonda - Exclusive Pictures

Luxury 'world car' program continues, despite controversial reception at Geneva

By Chris Rosamond / Thursday, April 9, 2009

In spite of what might politely be termed the ‘mixed’ reaction to its unusual style, the Lagonda saloon concept revealed at Geneva will not be ‘going gently into that good night’.

Great outdoors? Lagonda in a new light

Great outdoors? Lagonda in a new light

As these exclusive PH pictures show, Aston has placed its new luxury concept in pride of place outside the VIP entrance to its Gaydon HQ. Happily that's the entrance PH gets to use, so we snapped a couple of pictures on a trip to the factory yesterday - our first images of the big Lagonda that show it in an outdoor environment and natural light.

So is it just us, or does the car look suddenly less controversial in the sunshine?

At the Geneva show, it seems that lack of floor space meant the big Lagonda had to be presented in a way that encouraged the use of close-up, wide-angle photography, and the resulting images flashed around the world certainly didn’t flatter the lines. Outside, and with the space to stand back, the Lagonda looks quite a different beast. Dare we say it’s even likeable?

Either way, according to the folks at Aston, work continues to move the car towards production. And contrary to erroneous media reports (repeated here, oops!) there isn’t another Lagonda concept due any time soon.

Apparently Aston continues to talk to Mercedes about a deal to build this car on Merc’s 4x4 GL platform, most likely at a third party establishment as a hoped for volume in the (very) low thousands would overwhelm the paint shop at Gaydon, among other things. Magna-Steyr in Austria could be one suitable production partner, although finding a company with spare capacity to build the new machine shouldn’t be difficult in the current economic climate.

It’s a mistake to view the car as a luxury SUV, in spite of its GL floorpan, as the roofline is exactly the same height as the Rolls-Royce Phantom. It’s not even designed to be good off-road, says Aston, but simply has a raised ride height necessary to cope with often poor road surfaces in those countries it's designed to target - China, South America, Russia and parts of Asia among others.

Although reviving the Lagonda brand seems a worthy venture in its own right, the project is mainly designed to assist Aston Martin become established in these far off places where currently the market for exotic sports machinery is just too small to support dealer operations of the required global brand standard. The hope is that a Lagonda network selling a slightly higher volume luxury saloon car could be self-sufficient, allowing the Aston sportscar range to be offered as icing on the cake.

The Lagonda on display at Aston HQ

The Lagonda on display at Aston HQ

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