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Auto blogSun, 27 Oct 2013 13:01:00 EST
While slow sales and a $50,000 price tag may have been contributing factors to the Aston Martin Cygnet being cancelled last month, Aston Martin CEO Ulrich Bez is pointing the finger at Toyota for the demise of this luxurious little city car. In a discussion with Autocar, Bez is quoted as saying that the ultimate reason the Cygnet was cut is because Toyota plans on dropping the iQ (on which the Cygnet is based) in 2014 - a claim denied by the Japanese automaker.
Interestingly, the article also cites another publication reporting that a Toyota importer in the Netherlands heard the same news as Bez, and it has already stopped importing the cars. If the European Toyota iQ is cancelled, that would likely spell the end of the slow-selling Scion iQ in the US, which has sold just 3,365 units through September (a drop of 51 percent year over year).
Regardless of why production of the Cygnet ended, Bez also says that a lack of support from Toyota on the project prevented it from being offered in the US or receiving a supercharged engine, which are two factors that likely would have made the car appealing to more buyers.
A little over two months ago came reports that Daimler and Aston Martin were in talks, again, about "supply and technical-cooperation agreements." The next step has been taken with Aston Martin announcing that it has signed a Letter of Intent that looks "towards a technical partnership" with Mercedes-AMG GmbH, and the two companies aiming to have definitive agreements done by year's end.
While it will get to use certain electric and electronic components from AMG, the true golden egg for the maker of the Vanquish will be the ability to develop a new line of "bespoke V8 powertrains" that will be fitted to "a new generation of models." In return for opening up the larder, Daimler will get a non-voting stake of up to five percent of Aston Martin.
Nothing else is being said about the tie-up for the moment, but there's a press release below with a few more details.
Aston Martin has been without a helmsman since Ulrich Bez stepped down from the chief executive office at the end of last year, stepping back to serve as non-executive chairman in a semi-retired ambassadorial capacity. The British automaker, now on the cusp of a new era, has been running without a CEO since, but has now named Bez's replacement in Andy Palmer.
If you don't recognize the name, you should: Palmer has worked under the Renault-Nissan Alliance for decades now, rising through the ranks to become one of the top executives under Carlos Ghosn. Most recently he was serving as executive vice president of the entire group and chairman of the Infiniti brand, but like Carlos Tavares, who recently left Renault to run Peugeot, Palmer is now embarking on a new mission as CEO of Aston Martin.
Once the transition period is complete at the start of October, Palmer's role as Chief Planning Officer at Renault-Nissan will be assumed by Philippe Klein, who steps up from his current role as executive vice president of product planning for Renault. Read the statements from both companies below.