The 2018 Geneva Motor Show was the platform for many new launches, not just of vehicles but of brands too. In this case, it was Aston Martin that revealed its new Lagonda luxury brand with two 40% scale models, a saloon and SUV, on set at the show.
According to Aston, the SUV will be the first to roll of the production line in 2021 with the saloon following in 2023.
This should give the manufacturers of solid-state batteries enough time to develop their tech to achieve a realistic electric vehicle range of more than 400 miles
The Aston Martin DBX will share some of its technology with the Lagonda SUV although, while the DBX is being built in Aston’s new St Athan factory in South Wales, Andy Palmer, President and CEO, suggested the SUV may be built elsewhere as other locations are under consideration.
In an exclusive chat to Auto Express in Geneva, Palmer said: “I’ve been a student of the electric [car] industry since it began and nobody has replicated what [Elon] Musk did to create a purely 100 per cent electric car company.
“Just being one car in a range doesn’t make a statement, while saying ‘this brand is electric’ and pinning your hopes and prayers on that technology, I think is a more powerful statement that’s easier for the consumer to understand.
“There’s so much confusion around what is a hybrid electric – even the Government can’t get it right, so we demystify it; if it’s an Aston, it’s probably got a gasoline engine and it’s probably got a V-configuration. It might or might not have a hybrid attached to it. But if it’s a Lagonda, you know what you’re getting: it’s 100 percent electric.”
Talking about the Vision Concept, Palmer continued: “It’s a design study, but it was done for Marich Reichmann (AML’s chief creative officer) to fixate on the design elements for Lagonda.
“But it’s practical as it’s used large chunks of the DBX platform, so it’s production feasible except on two points: it assumes a solid-state battery and I’m not sure we’ll have that by 2021. Plus, it has level-four autonomous features,” Palmer added. “I don’t think anyone will have level-four autonomy by 2021. Maybe by the mid-2020s.”
As for how Lagonda's would be sold, Palmer said: “In the UK you could do it through a separate dealer network, but around the world, Lagonda isn’t as well understood, so I think in the first instance it will be born out of Aston Martin.
“We’re seeing traction from the Aston Martin brand centres around the world where people don’t feel as though they’re buying a car, so I could see Lagonda centres in big cities.”
During the show, Aston Martin announced relationships with Tag Heuer, Beats headphones and Waldorf Astoria hotels, which suggests Lagonda models could eventually be used to provide autonomous transport options for well-heeled hotel customers.
We eagerly await more from Lagonda, including more on the coupe which was also shown as a model in Geneva.
Watch this space.
Exclusive images source: Avarvarii for Auto Express.