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Aston shelves Lagonda SUV
Mercedes GL-based Lagonda on indefinite hold as Aston Martin changes direction
23 Jul 2009
ASTON Martin has reportedly shelved plans to revive its 100-year-old Lagonda brand via the hulking Mercedes-Benz GL-based SUV concept shown at this year’s Geneva motor show.
According to respected US automotive website Edmunds, the Lagonda SUV concept, which Aston Martin Lagonda (AML) chief executive Dr Ulrich Bez described at the time as a “unique performance avant-garde luxury product”, has been put on indefinite hold due to the global financial crisis.
“We have several sources ready to invest upward of a quarter-billion pounds, but the timing right now is simply wrong,” Edmunds reported Dr Bez as saying. “We have some work to do yet, and it takes a lot of investment.” Dr Bez said at Geneva that the petrol V12-powered Lagonda SUV, which was also planned to feature alternative powertrain technologies including diesel and hybrid drive systems, would be a taste of things to come from the historic British brand.
“Lagondas will not be about utility necessarily, or practicality,” he said. “They will not be rugged, go-anywhere machines, although they will have greater ride height, usability and versatility than Aston Martins,” he said in March, adding that the project would not have been possible under Ford control, which ceased in 2007.
“We could never have convinced our previous owners to allow us to relaunch the Lagonda brand like this,” Dr Bez told Autocar at the time. “There would have been too many complications and obstacles connected with Ford’s other PAG brands (read: Land Rover). Now that Ford is out of the picture, though, we are free to express our new vision for Lagonda.” Now, however, Aston Martin officials say the Lagonda SUV was only ever a concept that had never been committed for production – despite the company’s stated ambition, just four months ago, to use the new super-luxury SUV to exploit potentially lucrative emerging markets such as Russia, China and the Middle East.
The Lagonda SUV received a lukewarm media reception at Geneva and was hastily removed on the second press day, reportedly due to commitments elsewhere, preventing the public from seeing it.
At the time, Aston Martin said the production Lagonda would be based on the same platform as Mercedes-Benz’s GL-class luxury off-roader, and that the two companies were in discussions about the joint engineering project.
Edmunds reported Aston Martin sources as saying AML chairman David Richards did not see the Lagonda concept until late in its development and that the Aston chief wanted to reveal a second Lagonda concept at a major international motor show this year.
“Well at least you could say we put it out there,” an Aston source told Edmunds.
“And now maybe we know what we don't want to build. It certainly got people talking.”
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